I am writing this note, on behalf of my husband and our family, as a sign of gratitude to the Kolbe Academy staff for planning and executing a remarkable first-ever live commencement for the Class of 2018.
When our family embarked on this school-at-home journey, anticipating a bona fide commencement was not something we expected or, for that matter, “needed” (like “needing” a prom or glee club) in order to take this leap of faith into what was for us uncharted territory. We promoted the idea to our crew of graduation in absentia. But, that implied there would be a ceremony from which to be absentia, and our case for putting a positive spin on not having a graduation ceremony similar to what the kids at a “school-at-a-building” have quickly crumbled.
Our oldest daughter, who dreamed of commencement since fifth grade, was more than happy to rally her classmates in support of a asking for a graduation ceremony similar to what their school-at-a-building counterparts have. Nothing too fancy–just an opportunity to turn the tassel and meet their classmates for the first time. (Adobe Connect had been fine; however, teens love to see each other in real-time, sometimes.) Mrs. Lengyel and Mr. Buyarski were very welcoming and gracious in considering the requests and surprised us with the news of moving the plan forward.
What a graduation ceremony it was! Mrs. Lengyel, Mr. Buyarski, Mrs. Rowles, the Kolbe Board of Directors: You welcomed us all by hosting a hospitable and truly beautiful ceremony! Our graduating seniors were honored in a way that shone with the light of Christ, the movement of the Holy Spirit, and the grace of our God. And that is a bona fide commencement!
Our family members who attended remarked how Kolbe’s ceremony was the best graduation event they had ever witnessed. From the student speakers’ personal reflections; to the uplifting, heartfelt, and edifying words of Mrs. Rowles, Dr. Almanzar, and Mr. Pearce—we felt blessed to witness our graduating seniors experience this hallmark event that they, perhaps, never expected but most certainly cherished.
I think the greatest joy for the seniors came in having the opportunity to spend time together. A genuine enthusiasm in fellowship spread from the students to the parents, and that was wonderful! For several hours, we all had the PTA-type of experience we rarely get as homeschoolers, but without drama and/or division. We parents were just as thrilled as our kids to meet each other; again, something we never expected but certainly cherished.
And that, my friends, is why this ceremony was so memorable. None of us had any expectations. There was nothing to critique, nothing to fret over. We were all quite happy and grateful to be there. The good and the beautiful need no pretense, because truth is the witness. With the Holy Spirit as our guide, our actions, ceremonies, and fellowship create good and beauty anchored in truth. And we get famed teachers and intellectuals to deliver fabulous commencement addresses! (Thank you, Mr. Pearce and Dr. Almanzar!)