When the ivy walls are far behind

My daughter KM graduated from the local community college this morning.

To me, it seems a bit peculiar to refer to the end of KM’s two-year stint as “graduating,” given that she’s already been accepted to a four-year state university and will continue there as a junior in the fall. Still, the event marks a considerable achievement and a bargeload of hard work on her part. Even if it’s more a new beginning than a conclusion, I’m delighted for her to graduate — if only from one collegiate experience to another.

Certainly, for many — perhaps most — of KM’s fellow commencees (um, sure, that’s a word), an associate’s degree from the JC will be the end of their educational journey. For those folks, I’m glad that they received all of the pomp and circumstance (the song of that same name included) that their accomplishment merited. They each seemed just as thrilled to receive the purple folder that will eventually house their junior college diploma as if they had earned a four-year degree. And I’m certain that quite a few of them had invested far more than just the two calendar years that an AA or AS implies.

KM glowed in her black gown and mortarboard, draped with a gold satin stole representing her status as an honor student. I could not have been more proud when she stepped across the lawn to accept her diploma cover from the college president, as a faculty member read off her remarkable academic record:

  • University transfer.
  • Doyle Scholar.
  • Candidate for highest honors — an indication of a cumulative grade point average in excess of 3.6.

Those of you who know me know that I’m not sentimental about all that much. My daughter is the universe’s loftiest exception to that rule. As I tried to keep my hands steady to snap KM’s photograph, tears streamed down my face.

I don’t know whether she heard me shout, “Way to go!” as she shook the president’s hand.

But I meant it, with all my soul.

I have an amazing daughter. She may not always believe I think so, but I do. She’s going to accomplish great things in this world someday, if life, breath, and grace allow, and I pray that they will. The world needs more young people like her.

Then again… she’s one of a kind.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Aimless Riffing, My Home Town, Soundtrack of My Life, SwanStuff

2 Comments on “When the ivy walls are far behind”

  1. Donna Says:

    Congratulations KM on your graduation from Santa Rosa Junior College! I’m an alumni, class of 1983 (yikes)! I took three years to get my AS degree. The first year, I was a full time student. The second two years, I attended part time, earning 9 credits per semester, while I worked part time at night.

    When I look back on it, that education was the best I received after graduating from high school. I later attended another two year college on the east coast, and paid MUCH more for that than it was worth. To date, I have two Associates Degrees and have been pursuing a higher degree in the school of hard knocks. I’d have graduated long ago with a higher degree if the requirements didn’t keep changing!

  2. SwanShadow Says:

    Donna: I’ve passed your congratulations along to KM. Two years at SRJC was the right choice for her. She wouldn’t have been ready for a four-year school — especially one some distance from home — when she graduated from high school. Now, with some confidence and a record of success in her hip pocket, she can take on the world.


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