With each of my children's senior years, I have been concious of "lasts"... the last Christmas concert, the last sporting event, the last competition, etc. Since Erin is my youngest, the '" lasts" were much more poignant this year. They were not only HER "lasts," they were mine as well.... the last time I would watch a high school concert, play, volleyball tournament, competition, or spring concert. The last high school banquet. The last time I would drive one of my children to Hartford Christian Academy. The last high school graduation! Needless to say, I savored each event even more this year. I have always enjoyed watching my children participate in school events, (or Little League, or gymnastics, or drum corps), so I knew that I would miss doing so. Erin served as the captain of her volleyball team, sang a solo in her Christmas concert, played the lead in "Little Women," placed first in two vocal competitions, and graduated valedictorian of her class.
HCA has held their banquet the day before graduation for the past several years, so it has become a part of the graduation. Erin and I bought her dress on Good Friday, and went to lunch at Panera Bread to celebrate her birthday, which was March 21. (We had already had a family celebration but I wanted to do something special for both Janet and Erin, whose birthdays are two days apart.) We picked up the dress just a week before the banquet, and it didn't need alterations! We chose her shoes and a cropped sweater to go over the dress. Her dress was a light coral/peach, and her sweater was tan to match her shoes. Caroline did her hair, and she looked gorgeous! As I have for the past two or three years, I made a pancake breakfast the morning of the banquet. We took a few pictures at the house, then traveled to HCA to take pictures there before the students left. Caroline came with me, and we went to Starbuck's afterwards.
Ever since Caroline's graduation, we have had a tradition of taking the graduate out to breakfast on the morning of graduation. Al and I took Erin to Mahaney's, a little breakfast shop in the Poquonock section of Windsor. Al came with us, as did Caroline and Janet. Dave, Becca, and Noelle could not be there for graduation, so they were not there for breakfast either. They would come later in July for Erin's graduation party. The seniors did not have to be at school till noon on graduation day, which is why we've been able to take the girls to breakfast. We also had a small gathering of our church family for pizza at our house just before leaving for graduation.
This year, the kidnergarten graduation and school awards ceremony was held on the same night as the high school graduation. The kindregarten program was forst, and they are always so cute! The seniors watched from the doors of the auditorium, out of sight till their processional. Erin was the only girl in her class, and her last name begins with A, so she was first in line. She carried a rose as per HCA tradition, and looked lovely. Of course I cried when she came down the aisle, and during her speech. After the salutatory speech, the awards were given out. Erin got the Fine Arts award and the Valedictorian award. I was so proud of her when she gave her speech. She was the same irrepressible girl she's always been... bubbly and full of enthusiasm. She shared many memories of her class through the years, and her prayer that all of them would be found in God's will years from now. How proud and thankful we were to see her get her diploma! We were thankful not only because Erin was graduating, but because God had made a way every year for our children to attend Hartford Christian Academy. He provided not only the finances, but the transportation help we needed every year when we prayed that He would. Thank God for his faithfulness and mercy! I know that we can trust our Lord to continue to provide through their college years, even when we cannot see the way, because He has provided for us up till now. We love you, Erin, and we are so proud of you!