Last night my youngest child graduated from High School! It was one of those life moments I will never forget: seeing my “baby” shake hands with the superintendent and turn her tassel on her mortarboard. She has learned so much, worked so hard, and now embarks on her next adventures of college and beyond.
The occasion is imprinted in my memory and my heart, yet it was even more special for me in my role as program coordinator here at the Volunteer English Program. Because seated among the red- and yellow-gowned graduates with my daughter were many children of VEP students and other immigrants. Those parents cried in the audience along with me as they witnessed the event.
I was impressed by what this graduation must mean to them. Some parents might have had minimal schooling in their native country. Others who were educated may have left home to offer their family a better life here in the United States. In that moment, watching their first child accept a high school diploma in the United States, part of their dreams must have come true, their sacrifices justified. I saw their families embracing, shedding tears, and even screaming with delight after the ceremony as they celebrated.
I value this milestone in my motherhood even more as a result. And I am proud that I live in a community which supports adult ESL education, in which volunteers tutor fellow-parents who want what we all want: to give our children a better life.
Congratulations to the Class of 2014 and to ALL of the parents who helped their children succeed.
by Patty Rappazzo Morgioni, VEP Program Coordinator