I had the privilege of attending graduation ceremonies for the Margaret B. Rost school on Saturday evening. To my shame I had no intention of attending. I had dropped off my daughter and a friend who would be singing in a choir during the graduation. I walked into the rehearsal room to sit through the choir warm up thinking I would wait there about an hour until the performance finished, and then I would take the kids home. I cracked open the laptop and tried to start getting some work done.
Then the students started to walk in. With bells on, so proud of the way they looked. And excited mothers primping and cajoling them to do their best. I was distracted at this point and decided I needed to simply take the evening in. I walked out into the gymnasium where earlier in the day the teachers decorated and created the perfect graduation atmosphere. I grabbed a seat in a plastic chair and watched the families pour in over the next few minutes. Enthusiasm was in the air.
Then the graduates began to walk down the aisle one by one accompanied by what I thought was a relative but quickly realized was a teacher who took personal responsibility for their student. I found myself in a difficult spot trying to hold back the tears. These students could not graduate on their own. Not now. Not ever. And here were individuals giving themselves wholly to the best interest of their students. Oh, they get paid, but these teachers are priceless.
The school graduated 7 individuals with families cheering and supporting each other the entire evening. There were no color lines. No hatred. No Osama Bin Laden. No tsunamis or earthquakes. Nothing more than a number of families whose lives had been turned upside down and who willingly saw to it that their children never understood the sacrifice. I could not have paid enough to experience humanity that way. These kids only saw the good and wanted only the best for those around them. For them, that's the way life should be. No one ever told them there was another way.