Saturday, February 26, 2011

So Proud I Could Burst

For the past seven years, I've been more than fortunate to work in a job that I love. Every day, I meet with high school and junior high students who are unable to attend school for some reason. I do my best to help them get an education and pray, pray, pray that one day they can go back to school.

I can't share their stories, which is difficult because I adore these kids. I want the world to know about them. What I can tell you is that, if I were hanging out with these kids in high school, my mother might have raised her eyebrows a little bit. My students wear state-issued ankle bracelets, battle devastating illnesses, do NOT "play well with others," and know more about parenting at sixteen than I do at twenty-eight.

It was through this job that I had the privilege of meeting LaShonte. She was a freshman in high school and was my very first student.

I couldn't get her to crack a book - or a smile - for weeks.

But we persevered. We persevered for 18 months. And I can honestly say that she taught me more than I taught her.

Last Wednesday, I witnessed something in.cre.di.ble.

LaShonte GRADUATED from college.


I sat though the ceremony and grinned from ear to ear. I was literally so proud and felt like I might just burst open. When she walked up on stage and took hold of that diploma, I had to hold onto my seat to keep from embarrassing both of us by running down the aisle to tackle her.
I won't tell you about all of the obstacles that this young lady has overcome - that is her story to tell. Just know this; this diploma is a VERY.BIG.DEAL. In fact, if you've earned a college diploma, you can bet-your-buttons that this girl worked harder than you.
After the ceremony, we went out to dinner, where I continued to marvel at everything she is still teaching me.
I am thankful for this girl and I am so, so proud of her.


Two Little Birds said...

Total stranger, here. Just have to say, I love this post! I also work with these type of kids. My husband works at an affluent private school (which has tried to lure me in), but there is no way! I love working with my kids on the fringe. Working with these kids can make me frustrated as hell at times, but overall, the experiences keep me smiling and looking forward to each day. Good for you and best with your adoption!

Jess said...

I had no idea that's what you're doing now! That is truly incredible and I can see how it would be both very frustrating but even more rewarding. It is so truly amazing she made it so far esp when so many kids plain drop out, whether HS or college because it's "too hard". It's certainly a tribute to you that she's done this well :)