I know that it is considered somewhat ‘unguyish’ to cry but I found myself at a recent 8th graduation in tears. This was my 12th graduation in a little over a week and what made it rather emotional was to see teacher after teacher talk about their students between tears. One of the main teachers had to literally stop midsentence because she was overwhelmed with emotions. I was there for one of my younger teens that was being promoted into high school. I hadn’t heard much about ACES school but after attending this graduation I was all ready to sign up to teach and discover better methods for helping kids with special needs.
It was incredible to see the response of the students to each of their teachers as they handed them their certificates and a rose. All of them were excited and a few were literally jumping for joy. I was especially touched as one of the teachers, who is a gifted poet, had written a special poem for each of the students. The teachers read these to their students before they received their certificates. I could see the tears in the parent’s eyes as they saw their teens with special needs respond to the loving instruction they had received this last year.
It takes incredible patience to teach someone who is autistic or has severe learning disabilities. I could see the amazing bond between the various staff and the students. After attending 11 previous graduations this one stood out as the students had a glow about them when it came to their special helpers or teachers. I coveted this for some of my other kids and teens that we help. I know that the influence of someone that understands and is able to communicate can be that extra that turns a life around when it comes to being able to talk, read or write.
I’m criticized at times for using resources that some consider to be a waste of a person’s time and funds on kids or teens that seem to be beyond help. I’ve become an advocate for those that have been casualties of broken homes, under resourced neighborhoods, gang violence and drugs. I find myself saying this often that no one choses their family, their race, cultural legacy or educational surrounding. My passion is to give even those that are viewed as hopeless an opportunity to experience life and gain a love of learning in their setting. I believe that all people have value and should be given the opportunity, with help, to experience life to its fullest!
Yes I was crying my heart out for my teen’s graduation. I was so jazzed that he was at this exceptional school where everyone counts!!