Yes, our kids are in wheelchairs.
No, they don't talk.
Yes, they have disabilities so profound, we can't comprehend the hurdles they face.
No, their schooling doesn't involve high-level academics.
Yes, in spite of their physical disabilities, they have the spark of life that dazzles us.
So, just as any high school senior looks forward to certain rituals,
so we want our kids to experience those things as well.
Last Sunday they had their senior prom,
and St. Mary's own blog has the story here and here.
Graduation was today, and we even made the local news!
I wrote about graduation last year, and this year was no different.
With one exception.
I immersed myself in picture-taking, so my tears weren't flowing as much.
Ah, the power of distraction.
It was deliberate, because I embarrassed myself enough last year.
This year I was all business.
But at least I didn't need too many of these, generously dispersed throughout the room...
Every student deserves the pomp and ceremony, no matter their disabilities.
St. Mary's and the SECEP REACH Program (our school)
went all out to make them feel special today.
We had our Color Guard,
a great speaker (one of our most well-respected local news anchors
and managing editor of the news division of our CBS affiliate, Barbara Ciara),
a lovely and gracious woman with a wonderful sense of humor,
a special friend of each graduate speaking on their behalf,
the mother of one of our graduates to give a very moving tribute,
presentation of their diplomas by the principal,
a giant cake,
and a catered lunch of pulled pork barbecue and all the fixins,
which was just as good as Texas barbecue, thank you very much!
See St. Mary's blog post about the event here.
It's much better than this one.
It has quotes and everything.
It was a very special day, filled with very special people.
I am so lucky to be part of St. Mary's, SECEP, and the lives of those kids.
Devonta, Greg, Katie, Justin, Demetrias, and Steven:
don't leave us too soon, hear?
We'll miss you too much, and your absence will leave an awfully big hole in our hearts.
We love you guys.