Last Friday night, this happened. The big moment that marks the end of a huge chapter of our kid's lives. After spending thirteen years going to school, surviving Kindergarten thru 12th grade, the moments comes when they walk across the stage (or the grass, if you're like our school) and get their high school diploma. It's an awesome moment for our seniors. And even though it's a hard moment for us parents, to realize that our kids have gone and grown up and are entering adulthood, it's also an amazing moment, and a proud moment for us.
Our graduation ceremony is held on the football field, with all of the seniors, teachers, faculty, and the band on the field. That's the band you see in the photo above, and Sarah is in there somewhere. Depending what side of the field your senior is sitting on determines which set of bleachers you sit in. Home or visitors. Alyssa was closer to the visitor side, so we sat in the visitor bleachers. My only complaint was that there is only one set of speakers on the visitors site, where there are 3-4 sets on the home side. So we didn't hear the ceremony as well as we would have liked.
About a week or so before graduation, we had Senior Awards Night. Alyssa received her Life Membership Award for the California Scholarship Federation, along with her gold cords and tassle. The 16 students that received this award sat in the front row at graduation, so we knew it would be easy to spot her. That evening, she also received the Pinnacle Team award, as one of three students in our school to represent the top 1% of her class. Yes, we are unbelievably proud of her!!!
That's her, third from the right in the front row. Just like almost every other year, at graduation time, it was super windy out. I hadn't even though to pin her cap on, but I honestly don't think it would have helped. There were hats and cords flying everywhere. Everyone spend a good portion of the ceremony holding their caps on their heads. Lol.
We heard a few speeches, most of which were shorter than I thought they would be. Then they got to what everyone was waiting for. The distributing of the diplomas. We had about 370 students graduating in the senior class. They had tables set up on both sides of the field, so that students could feed in from both sides at once. That's Alyssa at the podium, having her name called out.
And there she is, diploma in hand. Well, the diploma folder in hand. I'm not sure if all schools do this, but they had to go into the office this week to pick up the real diploma. Which makes sense to me, since you really don't want to risk losing that important piece of paper in the craziness that happens after the ceremony.
After all of the diplomas were handed out, the graduates all walked out and spread themselves out around the edge of the football field (actually, the track around it). They were officially announced as the graduating class of 2014, and proceeded to throw their caps in the air. If the wind hadn't blown them off already!
And want to hear something weird? I didn't cry, or even tear up. And I ALWAYS tear up at stuff like this. Usually proud tears. Maybe it was the large venue, the fact that we couldn't hear that well (we were also surrounded by people in the bleachers that wouldn't stop talking, which didn't help matters), or the fact that it all went by so quickly. Or maybe I had just prepared myself so well for this moment, that I was able to just take it all in without it getting the best of me.
Sarah surprised us by being the most emotional one that evening. After she got done in the band, and had her instrument put away, she came rushing over to Alyssa. She was tearing up and gave Alyssa the biggest hug ever. I think it really hit her, watching her big sister walk up (pretty much in front of her, since she was in the front row of the band) and accept her diploma, that she wouldn't be around as much after she goes off to college.
Of course, the next morning, as soon as Sarah woke up, she came running into Alyssa's room, all happy to see her. And within about five minutes, she was talking about taking over Alyssa's room while she's gone. Lol.
Alyssa and her dad. His parents were there as well, along with her aunt, who flew in from Colorada to see her graduate. My parents and my brother were also there. I wish I had enough tickets to include my brother's wife, but luckily, she understood.
Alyssa and Joe. He has been a part of her life since she was just a year old, so he's been there for the entire ride.
Me and my girl. I can't even put into words how proud I am of this amazing child of mine. She's smart, she's a hard worker and self motivated, and she's driven and determined to be the best she can be. She's just an all-around good kid, with a kind heart and great intentions. She's got a good head on her shoulders and makes smart decisions. I can't wait to see what she accomplishes next. Love you baby girl!
I have many more photos I would love to share from that night. But since I'm already working some into layouts, I figured I won't bore you with them here. And if you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you've probably already seen them. One way or another, they will all be appearing here on the blog sometime soon, as I'm excited to get them all scrapped and in her school album.