graduation ➡️ commencement

Let’s review: The word commencement is derived from a 13th century French word meaning beginning or start. Commencement is the celebration of a new beginning, a new chapter in one’s life. One does not attend a graduation, because graduation is the completion of all education requirements and recorded accordingly.

It turns out Valerie had one more graduation requirement to complete before she could take part in commencement. She, along with the other 35 girls in her 8th grade class, had to write a 350 word speech, and then deliver it at the ceremony. THEN, she would meet all graduation requirements.

We began the evening by dining at Poquito’s restaurant.

Then on to the ceremony.

The school is a building previously owned by the Catholic Church. Built in 1904 , it’s the kind of structure her grandparents, or even her great-grandparents, would have attended in their high school years.

The ceremony itself was next door at the Church of the Immaculate Conception.

The girls entered one by one.

One of my favorite lines of Mary Oliver’s The Summer Day, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” was included in one of the teacher’s exhortations to the students.

The 36 speeches were incredible! These 8th graders had such presence, and such beautiful and thought-filled words, we were astonished and delighted.

NOW Valerie could commence.

Diploma in hand, she is officially a high-schooler.

It was a grand gathering to honor the accomplishments of this most special young lady.

The grandparents have dispersed, some early this morning, and the others shortly, all carrying the love and presence of family in our hearts.

Traveling mercies.

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