Lauren walked into the Thomas and Mack Center at UNLV wearing all kinds of awards, robed in baby blue, and grinning ear to ear. When she got close enough, we gave her a big cheer. She found us an threw her fist in the air as if to say to the world, "Take that! I'm here!" She was sitting with many of her friends who have worked as hard as she has for 4 years.
She was one of 42 students who graduated with high honors because they took accelerated (honors and AP)classes all 4 years. I had several of them in our home the past few months while they studied for their multiple AP exams. Great kids! They wore their dark blue banner on their backs and came in first. I struggled so much with school that I couldn't believe from the beginning that I had a daughter who would be able to apply herself to a high level of schooling, swim anywhere from 3-5 hours a day (several mornings before school), and attend and graduate from the early morning seminary program. I can't help but stand in awe.
Anyway, I digress. The program went so fast! We were out of there in less than 2 hours. For our family with an active, tired toddler, it was just right.
I loved a couple of the Valedictorian speeches. Most thanked their parents and teachers. The couple that I enjoyed had something kind and worthwhile to share. In the large group picture the Valedictorian, Dustin, next to Lauren and the Girl, Casey to the right of Lauren, are both fantastic kids and gave really nice talks. On the bottom and to the right, Emily, sang a solo (pop song) at graduation. It was so well done. I coached her in soccor many years ago! They are all grown up now.
At the end, I loved the Clark County School Board Representative. She got up and said that she accepted the class of 2008 and that everything that she would have said, had been said, "So Congratulations!" and sat down. LOVE HER.
The graduates were very well dressed and behaved. At one point when the diplomas were being handed out, I heard a huge yell and half of the boys stood up and cheered for their fellow handicapped classmate. It was awesome-Big boys, big voices, big hearts. There is hope.
Surprisingly for my emotional self, tears haven't come pouring out. I really just want to cheer her on and smile and congratulate her. It's such a happy time.
Mark and I have spoken a lot about Lauren lately. We are really proud of her. She is strong inside and out. She'll need to be in the world that we live in. She loves her family and friends. She is hard working. She loves goodness wherever it is. She had her feet set in the right direction. That's all we can hope for and all we've ever wanted for our children as they set off into adulthood.
Not only has she finished one phase but she's already started the next phase with registering for her college classes, getting her housing squared away, and getting information on what her Division 1 College coach wants her to do this summer. New hopes and dreams!