Tag Archives: graduation


Last Friday night, we attended a graduation ceremony at a local church for the seniors from our co-op. It was a very nice service, and even though I only knew three of the students who were graduating, by the end of the ceremony, I knew them all a little better.

After the official welcome, the service began with a couple of song selections by the choir from co-op, made up of about fifteen students. The procession of the graduates followed; from our small co-op, we had fourteen seniors.

Next on the program was a musical performance by five of those graduating. They played Pachelbel’s CanonĀ  — but in way I had never heard before. Instruments in the ensemble consisted of a cello, drums, an acoustic guitar, a bass guitar, and an electric guitar. I think the teens created the arrangement themselves, and it was well-done. Unusual, but very creative.

The youth pastor of the church then spoke, followed by the presentation of the diplomas. When a student’s name was called, he or she went up on stage along with his or her parents. The student gave the mom a rose as a letter was read out loud to the student. Sometimes the letters were written by the mom, sometimes the dad, and sometimes both. All of them were bitter-sweet as they reflected on events along the way, the time homeschooling, and the transition from childhood to adulthood. (The students had a chance to express their thoughts to their parents as well, each one writing a note that was published in the program.)

As each letter was read, photos of the student as he or she was growing up were displayed on a screen. The dad then presented the student with the diploma. Following this presentation, a slideshow of the seniors, put together by some of the students, was shown on the screen.

Though the graduating class was small in number, they concluded their homeschooling years in a memorable way. I know of other co-ops and organizations who have similar ceremonies. It’s exciting to me that, just like homeschooling itself, graduation can be tailored to fit the families involved. What an opportunity to make it so meaningful!

You Can Be Excellent

graduation_1813My sister is the administrator of a small Christian school, and this week she’ll be speaking at the graduation ceremony for the seniors. When she told me about her speech, I just sat there, more than a little stunned. She had decided to tell the students that they can’t be anything they want to be.

“What?” I said.

“You can’t. People always tell you that you can, but it’s not true. I took piano lessons for years, but I still can’t play it well.”

“But,” I said, “if you spent most of your time practicing, you’d be really good.”

“I might play it better than I do now, but I’ll never be great at it. It’s not my gift. It’s not what I was designed to do.”

Now I understood what she was saying. I have always wanted to be a singer, but as of right now, I can’t match a pitch, and I struggle to find the right key. While I would love to take singing lessons someday to hopefully improve, I know I won’t ever be a great singer. It’s not what I was created for.

This isn’t to say that we can’t try new things. If I worked on my singing all day, every day, I might work up to be an adequate singer, or maybe even a good one. But it would take a lot of effort just to get to that point.

But, if I were to concentrate on my strengths instead, I can be better than good – I can be excellent. I may only be an average cook (sorry, Dear), but I can be an excellent artist; I may only be an average seamstress, but I can be an excellent writer; I may only be an average gardener, but I can be an excellent teacher. I can be excellent in those things God has called me to be.

So maybe she’s right – instead of telling our children they can be anything they want to be, perhaps we should be telling them they were made to be excellent at something, and then help them discover just what that something is.