Congratulations to the 37 homeschool students and their families who commemorated their education journey at the High Country Home Educators Graduation ceremony hosted at New Life Church on May 8. This event was nothing short of a tribute to family. It was especially heartening to see the live video feed provided so a deployed soldier could share this important time with his daughter.
Although the individual student was certainly honored, there was a clear regard for the enduring “team contribution” in the accomplishment. Notably, two students scored in the 99th percentile nationally, among college bound students, on their ACT. Some already had numerous college credits under their belt, while one would receive her Associate Degree the following week. Several were commended for leadership in their churches, and Michael Cole, who delivered the commencement speech, will play NCAA Division I golf at ORU in the fall.
As laudable as these highlights are, the chief praise the parents offered was for their student’s strength of character—something that will transcend their formal education. It’s no wonder the tissues start flying as guests and families witness parents and students concluding this deeply personal journey on the stage. It’s all there—accomplishment, hope for the future, weariness from the endeavor, joy to be finished, sadness to let-go, belief in all the possibilities, and residual doubt that they’ve really done enough. The theme for the event was “Shine Like Stars,” according to Philippians 2:15. As musicians, athletes, poets, writers, worship leaders, service members, nurses, or artists, it would appear this group is prepared to do just that.
Homeschooling families are different in myriad ways, yet one universal commonality is sacrifice. There is the financial sacrifice of living on one income; the career sacrifice of parents who work to educate their children without enhancement for their resume; and the sacrifice of time. There are a number of traditional affairs, which families relinquish when they decide to educate their children at home: school dances, parent-teacher conferences, carpool lanes, packing lunches, formal report cards, spirit week, stuffy classrooms and the like. Some were easy to pass-up, while others were not. The graduation ceremony is one I am grateful we did not have to forgo. The opportunity to publicly, yet personally bring a celebratory conclusion to a season that is marked by perseverance is immensely rewarding (especially since you are as relieved to be DONE as they are).
Thank you, High Country, for encouraging and supporting families through their home schooling years, as well as providing a pinnacle event to commemorate their efforts and God’s faithfulness.