Ray Romano has this bit where his mother tells him to complete college. When he asks why, she says, "So you can say you're a college graduate." You mean I can't say that now? "I am a college gajjeet! A ko-kakka go-gaggu-wa! Dammit! Three credits and I could have had it!"
So CR, after 18 years of moderate childhood angst, has made it my education level. I mean, yeah, I also got scattered college credits, but they don't count. He is a full graduate of Chantilly High School, even though he had to finish it in the summer.
His graduation ceremony was modest and he was among about 20 graduates from 5 nearby schools in his summer program, and maybe 1 of 3 born in this country. Some kids were graduating early, there's a 15 year old in his group; she's going to be a college student before she learns how to drive (her biggest complaint). Another had to leave the country to be by his dying mother, but came back, and was graduating at age 20. He actually gave the student-based inspirational speech, and even though his English was pretty bad, his story was heart-wrenching and very, very well composed and written. The whole thing was maybe an hour long, indoors, and I was happy to see so many graduates had HUGE families that came to see them. In front of us was a very sweet Hispanic family, and one of the Islamic students had maybe 20-30 people cheering for her. Even the neglected kids seemed to have friends who showed up and cheered for them. "GO BRITTANY!!! WOOOOOO!" "TYLER! YEAH!!! HOO HOO HOO HOO!" CR was one of 6 or 7 graduating from his school, and he graduated with an old childhood friend from Bailey's, the magnet elementary school he went to from grades 1-5.
Contrast that to the McLean ceremony I had in 1987, which was slated to be six hours long, had two famous guest speakers (I think Senator Chuck Robb, and Desmond Tutu's daughter), several local guest speakers, a few student speeches, and over 340 students to go through. It was held outdoors, in a hot and muggy summer day, during the *height* of the 17-year cicada season. So in addition to being hot, bored, and covered with thumb-sized insects, the combined apathy of the graduating class and the growing unrest in the bleachers of parents forced the students to END the graduation early. Anya said when she graduated in 1995, it was about the same, except it was down to four hours, and no cicadas. While takayla didn't mention hers, she agreed this was MUCH better than what CR's class had a few months earlier: 3500 parents and students at the Patriot Center, where tickets were like $70/person, I think. Yikes!
We did have to pay, however. The $188 we paid for this one included me, takayla, and Anya, if you combine the "senior dues" he had to pay last year (they never collected for this year... oh they ASKED for it, but never collected), and $128 extortion fees on "owed equipment," counting a $108 "advanced graphic" calculator CR never owned (he never took advanced math courses), but someone said he did, and they wouldn't let him graduate unless he paid (and we couldn't complain because "the woman" who handles these affairs was "on a cruise for the next two weeks"). On the check I sent them, in the comments section it says, "Bribe money" and on the back where you sign the check, I wrote, "By cashing this check, Fairfax County agrees that this was paid under duress, and completely illegal." I know they never look, I did this with other "mysterious fees" the schools have charged us in the last 13 years, including his junior year "senior dues" and various other untraceable "equipment charges." I learned this trick back in the days of bill collectors who had a juicy habit of "forgetting" you paid them.
But it's over. He has his diploma in a purple leather binder, and on Saturday, takes entrance exams for college. The current plan is 2 years of NOVA (which is no shabby college, let me tell you, one of the best Community Colleges in the nation), and then onto a graduate college (one of several in Northern Virginia are being considered, I'd love to get him into VA Tech if we can afford it). His current idea is to become a TEACHER for small children which is AWESOME and I think he'd be a great teacher.
Congratulations CR! I am so proud of you, and I love you very, very, very much!
In other news, aksident, whom wanted to be with us, and we wanted her as well, could not attend because she was doing volleyball tryouts at her school. Good thing, because she not only MADE THE TEAM but was ONE OF ONLY TWO FRESHMEN picked for the JV team! Usually they only pick Juniors and Sophomores if they are lucky. But she's always been skilled and competetive, and I wouldn't be surprised to see her at the 2012 Olympics.