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Graduation 2018

jaleel gradWe had our second graduation since we opened in 2015!  Our one and only graduate was given the freedom to design his ceremony, even down to what he wore.  He insisted on a black cap and gown and even chose his march in song, which I was “People Get Ready” by Seal.  We never tell our students the format, but through a discussion of what they envision for their ceremony, we help them pull it together.  (I will sure be glad when one of our graduates decides to do something completely non-traditional!!)

One funny moment is when his mom called us and asked us to have him wear a blue gown. When we talked to him about it, he was resolute and said, “I AIN’T wearing no blue gown! I’m wearing a black gown and blue tassel!”  LOL!  We love that he felt freedom to say that. He is 18 for goodness sakes! I also love how his mom supported his final decision and just rolled with it.

Another beautiful moment was when students of all ages, staff and family gathered around him to pray for him.  Students from ages 4 to 18 laid hands on him and wanted to pray for this young man.  We all prayed for him as we gathered around him in a circle.  It was so organic, and so beautiful.

We will miss him, for he was such an inspiration to all of us. He came to us 2 years ago and wanted a different learning environment.  His last year with us, he did an apprenticeship at a local nature center, where he volunteered 2 days a week.  We are proud to say that they want to hire him as official staff, which is exciting to us because of his intense love of animals and caring for them (he has 5 bearded dragons!).  We don’t know where this path will lead, but we know he is ready to take on the world!

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