This is Juan's Graduation Day. Juan got his diploma many many moons ago---just before I headed into the classroom to work with kids just like him. I don't know where he is now...if he's had a happy life since high school...if he has children of his own on their own roads to graduation. But I've kept this picture for nearly two decades as a reminder to me of just how much it means to a kid to finish high school.
I was thinking about this today for a couple of reasons. One is simply that the honeymoon is over for kids this school year. All of their good intentions that walked through the door with them in September are sliding away as the reality of school settles in. So, I'm on them about things and calling parents, trying to reach a happy medium. Kids may groan, but the goal is to have them keep moving toward that diploma. Secondly, I was listening to all of the various uncertainties around graduation requirements. I was frustrated that we have kids in the system who need diplomas and the state is still dancing around what can be used to get one.
That's what it's all about, right?