I have this love/hate thing with spring commencement.  It’s always on a Saturday morning–that’s the hate thing.  An extra obligation on the crown jewel day off of the week.  Processional

But I love it, too, for a number of reasons.

This year, the love was mainly having my own daughter recognized for achieving her associate degree on the way to her bachelor’s degree two years from now.   Papa's grad girls

But there was other love, too.  I spotted one of the teacher’s aides, a working grandmother, who started classes six years ago when the No Child Left Behind laws made the paraprofessionals head to college.   She made it, a part-time student, course by course, semester after semester, someone who never dreamed of going to college for the first 50 + years of her life!  I hugged her when I spotted her in the lineup before the ceremony.

And, as I called the names of the graduates as they proceeded toward the rostrum to receive their degrees, I met three different firemen whom I taught online in English 1001 and 1002 in the past few semesters but whom I had never met in person because they live in different parts of the state.  I felt like I knew them because of our extensive interaction in the online classes, even though we had never shaken hands or looked one another in the eye.  We took care of that today, and the experience was rich.

Yes, there are rewards to this humble profession.  This was a happy day.