I need to do an actual real post. But for today, i just need to say that Houston - my sweet, tiny boy who wept and begged me not to leave him the first day of kindergarten - graduated from 8th grade today.
The eighth graders didn't have school today, but they did have rehearsal for the graduation. Houston woke up this morning and immediately dressed in his graduation clothes. I was all, "Um. You DO realize that graduation isn't for like, 11 hours, right?" He might have been a bit excited.
Houston got to walk across the stage three times. First, he got the "KCA Loyalty Award," along with 31 other kids, for being at our school from kindergarten straight through to eighth grade. That part was almost more fun for me to watch than the actual diploma-giving, because those were all kids that i know and have watched grow up from kindergarten. Houston's been in class with all of them at least once, and there's one girl who he was in class with every single year for 9 years. There were some of them that i can hardly even recognize anymore and probably wouldn't know if i saw them on the street, but i know their names and can be all, "Awww! Look how much he/she has grown up!" The loyalty kids all got a really cool compass with a little plaque with their name, 2007-2016, and "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined." (Katrina is totally jealous, because she wants a compass, and i can already see the wheels in her head spinning, hoping that she'll get one when she graduates.)
Also, one of my favorite moments was when the principal was handing Houston his award, he totally paused and peeked around Houston to make a face for my camera.
The second time across the stage was for an award for Creativity. There were 11 individual awards given out for things like Courage, Gratitude, Respect, Humility, Perseverance, and Compassion. The art teacher handed out the award for Creativity, and almost as soon as she started talking, i thought, "This might actually be going to Houston." (Juanito and Houston, on the other hand, were both totally shocked when she said his name.) Each award winner got a whole little speech about them, and this was Houston's:
Pablo Picasso once said, "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain one once he grows up." As young children, we have no fear or lack of self-confidence when it comes to creating art. When given the opportunity, we dig our hands in with pure joy and enthusiasm and create our dreams. As we grow up, this freedom of expression becomes more and more difficult to hang on to. It takes great courage and a sense of self to hold on to that creative spirit.
The young man that I am recognizing tonight truly has a creative spirit. He is not afraid to be himself, to express himself, and to play.
Bill Watterson, creator of the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes, said, "A playful mind is inquisitive, and learning is fun. If you indulge your natural curiosity and retain a sense of fun in new experience, I think you'll find it functions as a sort of shock absorber for the bumpy road ahead."
Throughout his years at Knapp, I have watched this student grow, learn, laugh, and play. He always greets me with a smile and a hello, and enters the art room with fantastic ideas and a fun demeanor that says, "I am truly happy to be here."
As Bill Watterson said, that road ahead can get bumpy at times, but with an amazing creative spirit and a fabulous family to support him, the journey ahead for Houston will bring one of learning, joy, discovery, and great successes.He really is SUCH a creative kid, and i love that he has an art teacher who has just loved having him in her classes. Sometimes his creativity shows up in artwork in ways that make me look at all of the pictures by all of the students and wonder, "Did he actually have the same assignment?" or "Was he supposed to do that?" And i'm so grateful that his art teacher just understood him and encouraged it.
And then, of course, he walked across for his actual diploma.
And so, that's it! He's finished at Knapp. I'm a lot more sad about that than he is. One of the biggest differences between his 8th grade graduation and mine is that when i graduated from 8th grade, i knew that almost everyone in my class would be going on to the same high school. In Houston's class, that's absolutely not true. He has two friends who will be going to high school with him, but other than that, he'll possibly never see most of these kids again. He seemed remarkably blase about that fact. I was all, "Awww! May! Zoey! Jakari!" I was even a little bit nostalgic about some of the kids that i really kind of didn't like. Houston, on the other hand, would have just run out of the building afterwards without taking any pictures at all. Boys are weird.
Next year? High school! (Excuse me while i quietly go and freak out a tiny bit.)