Friday, July 01, 2016

A full week: 2 graduations and a prom



This past week has been a huge one for our family! Here's a brief look at the highlights, with a few pictures that -- while they don't do justice to the emotions behind them -- at least give a little glimpse.

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On Tuesday Jonathan graduated from Grade 8 at Rideau Public School. Jonathan has attended this outstanding school for nine years. Ever since the first day I walked in the door to ask about registering him for senior kindergarten, we have received continuous support and help to meet his every need. He has had a full-time educational assistant (the amazingly patient, dedicated, and irreplaceable Mr. O'Connor, a.k.a. "Mr. O") to help him achieve his personal learning goals in all areas: academic, social, and physical. His classmates have encouraged and helped him. All staff, from principal to teachers to EA's to custodians, have been his friends.
 
Jonathan in the graduation processional with 
his friend Theory (the only girl in the graduating class).

Jonathan receiving an award from his music teacher, Mrs. Pixley,
with Mr. O, his educational assistant, helping out.

 Jonathan got a little shy when it was time
to go up for his diploma.


Jonathan displaying his Service Award.  

His graduating class was small: only five students. As a result, the graduation was very personal and informal, and each student had a chance to shine. Each student received an award highlighting his or her specific strengths; Jonathan's was the Service Award, based on his great love of recycling and picking up garbage, as well as helping with breakfast club.

Jonathan, Theory, Jackson, Carlos, and Owen - Class of 2016

Next year Jonathan will attend high school at KCVI (Kingston Collegiate & Vocational Institute); he'll ride the bus every day, a new experience that he's sure to enjoy. There have been many people involved in making this a successful transition for him, and we hope for good things in September. But we will never forget Rideau. It has truly been a home-away-from-home for Jonathan for the past nine years.

 Jonathan and Mr. O, saying goodbye on the last day of school.

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On Wednesday was our second of two graduations: Allison's grade 12 graduation from LCVI (Loyalist Collegiate and Vocational Institute). Allison has had a good four years at this excellent school. The staff have been so helpful and resourceful in encouraging Allison to be the best she can be as a student and as a person. Allison was on the honour roll (80% average), was named an Ontario Scholar (80% or more in her best six grade 12 courses), received a French Certificate (for taking French in all four years of high school), and got a subject prize for her Advanced Placement Statistics course.

 Allison before grad....


... and after.

The graduation ceremony was long, in part because a staff comment was read about each student as he or she received a diploma. This is what Allison's said:

"Allison courageously and enthusiastically advocates for the rights of others and the dignity of those facing personal challenges. Although academic excellence comes easy to her, she approaches each new task with enthusiasm, determination, and commitment."

That describes Allison pretty accurately. We are so proud of her.


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Allison, dressed up and ready for the prom.
 
The last big event of the week was Allison's prom. She looked beautiful in her new dress, shoes, and jewelry. Unfortunately, her friend Alex, whom she'd invited as her guest, wasn't able to attend; but Allison went on her own anyway. When I dropped her off at the venue, I was so impressed by the friendliness and kindness of the other girls, who showered her with compliments and drew her in to the group. She enjoyed her evening.



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So it's been a full week, and such a blend of emotions: pride and happiness, yes, but sadness too. Here's to the next stages of Allison's and Jonathan's journeys. I know they'll give us many more reasons to be proud.

 

4 comments:

  1. You and Richard have such great kids, Jeannie. Will Jonathan have an EA at the next school? What are Allison's plans?

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Tim! Yes, I think the plan is for Jonathan to have a one-on-one assistant. Since Jon has a history of seizures and also isn't able to be totally cognizant of safety issues, he's always had an EA "attached" to him, and it needs to be a male for bathroom reasons etc. The classroom he will be in is called School-to-Community and is geared to students with special needs. It will be a small class, probably under ten students. Some of them, depending on their abilities/skills, may integrate into mainstream classes; it's all very individualized from what I understand. In late August we'll likely get more specific information, but he has already met his teacher and visited the school once, so the process is well under way.

      Allison has been accepted at Queen's University (here in Kingston) for Arts. She can live at home and attend university: it's within 15 mins walking distance too, so it's very convenient. She hasn't chosen courses yet but now that the grad festivities are over, hopefully she can get under way with some of those plans. Lots to think about. Thanks for asking!

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  2. Belated congratulations to you all!
    Jonathan's graduation sounds like fun. Great to have time to give personal attention to everyone. And I love how the teachers described Allison. What a special young woman.
    God bless you all in these transitions, and in the new plans and challenges as well.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Tuija! It sure has been an eventful time for our family.

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