In each of our lives there are days we point to for a long period of time, events we refer to as milestones, or time checks where we mentally and physically transition from one setting or perceived state to another. Today marks such a milestone in the lives of ninety-seven seniors at Patrick Henry High School in Emory, Virginia. Approximately thirty-three years ago I accepted my diploma from this school and began my own transition from being considered a kid to adulthood. Tonight my daughter will get her chance to savor the spotlight as she goes through her own high school graduation ceremony.
Three years ago I put together a similar post to this to commemorate My son’s graduation day. I enjoyed that retrospective so much I decided when this day came I would also post something for my daughter. Taking a few moments to reflect on their high school career gives you another opportunity to see how their lives were enriched by all they experienced. High school can be a trying time for a teen, but my daughter, Meredith, seemed to thrive. Perhaps it was due to not only her personality, but her willingness to plunge into every activity she could.
Throughout all four years of her time at PH Meredith was part of the Rebel Regiment, the high school band. In fact, she got to be a part of the unit early as part of the select few eighth graders to join a year early, just as her brother had. She got the chance to get out of the stands, where she had been for three years watching her brother to out on the field with him for his last two years of high school.
During Meredith’s high school career with the Rebel Regiment she got to travel all over Southwest Virginia playing at football games on Friday nights in the fall and performing in band competitions most Saturdays each October. Beyong that, though, she also got the chance to travel to the Bahamas and Chicago, IL on band trips.
Meredith pulled double duty her last two years, putting in time as a cheerleader for football and basketball. This meant trading the hot band uniform in September for a much cooler cheer outfit. I think she wished when it all ended she had tried football cheering sooner in her career. Meredith also enjoyed singing with the high school and middle school choirs, which allowed her the opportunity to take part in the first high school musical at her school in thirty years.
In November of 2014 Meredith decided she wanted to take part in the Miss Patrick henry pageant. If there is anything I know without a doubt about my daughter, it is that she does not crave the spotlight. If earned she enjoys it, but she does not go looking for opportunities to stick out. In my mind her reasoning for being in this beauty pageant was more practical. She wanted to give her prom dress one more night out of storage. When her name was called as the winner she was genuinely thrilled.
During her high school career, and really for most of her life Meredith has had the joy of sharing every experience with her best friend, Alyssa. The girls have been inseparable since Alyssa’s family began to attend the same church as ours. Since then we have shared so many life experiences together we are much like an extended family. The funny thing is that Meredith actually got to hand off her Miss Patrick Henry crown to Alyssa this year.
As a matter of fact, the girls have decided to attend the same college, East Tennessee State University so they can room together and continue to share their experiences. So many times the friendships you counted so rich in high school tend to fade as you part ways following the graduation ceremony, but this one seems destined to defy that axiom. Girls tend to develop stronger relationships so I think these two can count on enjoying each other’s achievements for a long time.
Many of our friends have children younger than Meredith and they ask at particular events as we approach the close of Meredith’s high school career and thus the end of our eight year relationship with Patrick henry if we will miss it all. When our son graduated I did feel a sort of sadness. We have always tried to attend every event the kids are involved in. Somehow I knew that when Isaac left PH things would never be the same. But with Meredith I feel we have completed our arc at the high school level. She has taken part in so many activities and given us great memories to add to the ones her brother created.
Art is one of Meredith’s interests and she has spent some time thinking about the decorations she wanted to have on her graduation cap. Reflecting the Christian faith that has developed by leaps and bounds during her high school career she chose you use Proverbs 31:25 to declare her faith to those that attend her graduation.
Perhaps the highlight of Meredith’s senior year was the mission trip she and I made to Belize. I had made two previous trips and she expressed interest in accompanying me on the next one. While this is not directly connected to her high school career, it does directly connect to the idea I expressed at the beginning about transitioning in your life from one state to another. I saw my daughter transition from a young girl to a young adult as she witnessed to mothers about the love of Jesus Christ. It takes more than just another day on the calendar to become an adult, but I feel Meredith is well on her way.