Another one of my babies has graduated....sort of.
Did they always have 8th grade graduations, or is this just something the cap and gown industry has advanced? Having been homeschoolers for the past couple of decades, we're still new to all this Real School stuff. But I figured Justin deserved a little celebration since he (and I) did read Dante this year - as well as many other old, dead guys. We also had some amazing discussions, and spent many a cozy night huddled around the computer screen trying to come up with 500 words on subjects we theretofore had no clue about.
Mother and son bonding...the classical way. Not to be confused with the public school way, where I guess they bond over lectures about peer pressure and Just Saying No. Or home school mother/ son bonding - which I know all about - and usually includes food and read-alouds (but never Dante!)
In addition to way-hard literature, the Christ Classical Academy 8th graders also studied Latin, Logic, Omnibus, Algebra, Broadway music, art history, and physical science. All very hard subjects for a boy who would rather be swimming or playing soccer, but Justin persevered.
Thus, the 'knighting'.
I loved this part of the service where Mr. Sellers, a school Board member, asked the graduates three questions from Micah 6:8 - "Will you do justly?" - and the student answered, "I will" and got tapped on the right shoulder with the sword, then "Will you love kindness?", followed by an "I will" and a tapping on the left shoulder, and finally, "Will you walk humbly with your God?", and ending with an "I will" that received a tap on the head with the sword, and a "Rise, knight! and Go forward." (We're not pictured, but as each graduate came forward to kneel, his/her parents also came up to witness the vows.)
Very moving. And yes, I cried and embarrassed my other kids.
And I prayed that my sweet Justin, who had never even heard of the person of Jesus Christ nine years ago when we met him in foster care, would keep those vows he uttered at his 8th grade graduation ceremony. And that there would be another graduation for him in four more years, and that perhaps by then he would have overcome his dyslexia enough to read his books without me.....Not that I don't love Dante and Chaucer....I'm just sayin'...It's been a long year - and maybe I deserve a pocketknife or something?)
And even though this picture makes it look otherwise, they received a real sword, capable of inflicting real injuries that would require real stitches with a real needle.
The charge to the graduates was given by the 7th/8th grade teacher, Mr. Eller, who was looking especially dapper in his bow tie. This isn't the most flattering picture of Mr. Eller, obviously engrossed here in whatever classical point he was trying to make - but trust me....If Mr. Eller had been my 8th grade teacher....I would've been very, very distracted. And not by the bow tie.
Another cool thing about the whole graduation ceremony was the "squires", who were 5th/6th graders that carried the sword of each graduate during the processional. It just so happened that Justin had a sibling in that grade (....it just so happens that Justin has a sibling in almost every grade!) so Andrew got to carry the sword for him.
And here is Justin making monkey faces after the ceremony, proving that just because you finish a bunch of prescribed classes, kneel down before an audience and take some sober vows, then get knighted with a real sword, it does not mean that you are necessarily any more mature :)