Yesterday was an incredibly important milestone in my “little” brother’s life.
Eric is now a proud high school graduate! If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that this is a big deal for both him and our family. The rules for special education vary by state, but in many cases special ed graduates find that because they haven’t taken or passed certain standardized tests, they do not receive an actual diploma.
Part of the reason my family moved to Arizona (from Minnesota) in the first place was so Eric could have an equal chance at earning what is rightfully his after 12 years of hard work. He attended a school for kids on the autism spectrum to receive the individualized education he needed to excel, and he has truly gone above and beyond. He still met all the “usual” student requirements, but just went about meeting them in a way that was best for his learning style. Through a lot of dedication and effort, Eric has grown into the intelligent achiever he is today. We couldn’t be prouder of him.
Not to mention the fact that he is SUCH a grown man. I mean, really – when did he get so old?
We arrived at his school early yesterday morning for the ceremony, which was so awesome. Since his school is pretty small, the graduation is also combined with the closing ceremonies for all grades K-12. You may recall Eric’s diski dance from 2010? This year’s ceremony featured fun videos and skits from all school levels – lower, middle and high – as well as FANTASTIC music performances. The music teachers have really put something incredible together, and each class rocked out. Eric’s band, Final Boss, did a cover of the song Birdhouse In Your Soul by They Might Be Giants.
My bro did an excellent job on his electric guitar. Did I mention the music program is awesome?
He was all smiles for the entire ceremony, which made it even more special.
Soon enough, the graduates left the room to put on their caps and gowns and make their grand entrance. Eric’s friend, Lee, was valedictorian. He gave a really good speech about the exciting future ahead for all five seniors.
And then, in the blink of an eye, my baby brother was officially done with high school!
I can’t express enough how proud of you we all are, Eric. I was one happy sister.
My great aunt Clare and mom’s cousins Patti and Kay were also there to celebrate. It meant a lot for them to come and show their support on Eric’s big day!
After the ceremony, Eric said his goodbyes to friends and teachers before we all headed to Brio Tuscan Grille for a celebratory lunch. Our waiter added this “gown” to a bottle of Parducci Merlot and jokingly asked Eric if he wanted a glass. A few more years… 😉
Of course, those of us over 21 were happy to help him out.
I went the soup and salad route, starting with a delicious Italian Wedding soup.
And ending with the Brio Chopped Salad, which consisted of chopped greens with tomatoes, olives, onions, cucumber, feta and red wine vinaigrette. It was fantastic!
More celebrating is in the works for the long weekend, including some red velvet cake! We wish Bobby could be here with us, but unfortunately he is in the final throes of studying for his last CFA exam. I know he’ll be overjoyed when those tests are over!
I imagine he will feel a lot like this…
ConGRADulations to Eric and all the Gateway seniors on their fantastic achievement. My brother will be attending community college this fall to pursue an associate’s degree in exercise science and earn his personal training certification. He has big dreams, and I know he will reach his goals.
The pictures tell it all. Do you see how buff that guy has become? He inspires me every day.
Hope you all have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! Any fun plans?