Ann, with her fiance Brandon, finished her M.S. at LSU in May.

Ann, with her fiance Brandon, finished her M.S. at LSU in May.Zach, with his special friend Trisha, received the M.Ed from U. of Louisiana Lafayette today. Zach, with his girlfriend Trisha, received the M.Ed from U. of Louisiana Lafayette today.

My Daddy was a high school dropout. Am I proud of that?

Yep, darned right. Daddy dropped out around 15 years of age and knocked around the Depression era WPA and other odd pursuits, including a stint in the Army Air Corp, before feeling a divine call to the preaching/pastoral ministry. In response to that call on his life, he determined that he needed better education. Thus, he found his way to the private church-related Clark College in Mississippi, a junior college that specialized in remediating under-prepared students with what Daddy used to describe as “bonehead courses” that brought dropouts, like him, up to speed. He finished his associate degree at Clark and transferred to Mississippi State where he earned his bachelor’s degree in English in 1953.

He was the only child in his blue-collar family of five children to earn a college degree. He never touted that fact, but we all could tell it was a source of pride for him. And it was for us, as he instilled in my brothers and sisters and me an understanding that higher education wasn’t just an option for us, but an expectation. I can never remember a time in my life when I suspected anything other for myself than that I would graduate from high school, go to college for four years, and earn a degree. And that’s exactly how my life turned out.

And that’s exactly what my two children did. And they also upped the ante, because 2013 is a landmark year for us in that both of our children finished graduate school with master’s degrees. Daddy would have been proud. I’m sorry he’s not here to see the ceremonies or congratulate the graduates, but I know he’d be proud.

Daddy was a school drop-out who dropped "in" and left for the rest of us a legacy that would transform our lives.

Daddy was a school drop-out who dropped "in" and left for the rest of us a legacy that would transform our lives.

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