Graduation – Friday, Saturday, Sunday


Graduation was lovely. The American International School of Johannesburg does it well. The ritual is spread over two days which makes it extra special. Friday there are several practices for both Friday and Saturday, a senior’s class luncheon and the awards presentation. I liked having the awards given out at a separate time from the diplomas. Our Jenna received Athlete of the Year. There were a multitude of awards for academics, service and sports. The kids had a very busy day.

They also received their red envelopes on Friday. Family and friends had been asked to write letters, send cards, pictures etc. to support their beloved student. Jenna will keep those letters always. Hopefully when the tough times come, as they do for all of us, she will be able to read them and gain courage as she soaks in the love that came with those letters. It is a lovely tradition.

Both Friday and Saturday the sun shone filling our hearts with a sense of well-being. God was smiling and celebrating with us. Saturday afternoon we gathered once again in the auditorium. There were the usual speeches. A musical interlude by a student acapella singing group added to the occasion. The final speech was fantastic.  One of the teachers, chosen by the kids, spoke to them from her heart. She did a wonderful job. She closed her talk with a popular song that she had rewritten just for the graduates. She had all the teachers join her on the chorus. We were all in tears. She brought God’s blessing of love to the grad’s. She was my choice for angel of the day.

The presentation of the diplomas was unique. As each student’s name was called they came forward and stood facing the crowd while the vice principal read out the student’s message for parents, grandparents, siblings, friends. They had 40 words, no more. There were many thank you’s and future plans. Some were entertaining. All were important. It gave each student a moment in the limelight before they received their diploma. I liked it.

The afternoon ceremony was followed by an elegant dinner in the ballroom of a local hotel. The students paraded in and then joined their family circle at a table. Champagne was provided for a toast. A milky way of tiny lights turned the hall into a magic place. The meal was delicious. The students were excited about the dance that was to follow.  Once the graduates dance with their mother or father was complete, the music volume increased. We took one look at the overcrowded dance floor and gratefully accepted a ride back to Dave’s. Dave and Jo followed about an hour later. Over the years our opportunities to celebrate Jenna’s special days have been rare. We are so glad we came.

We crawled into bed early and slept well. I rose and shone at 6:30 Sunday morning. We returned to All Saints Anglican church for worship. Everyone welcomed us. Nourished in the Spirit, we climbed into Dave’s car and headed out of town a bit to participate in a music and wine tasting festival with Dave, Jo, Lee, Russell, Steve and John. The day was warm and sunny, the music far enough away to be enjoyable, the wine and food delicious.

We could have packed Sunday night but just weren’t up to it. So we packed this morning and left for the airport at 3:00.

Who were are angels. Certainly Jenna, first and foremost. Lee and Russell, drove us home from the dance, and welcomed us into their circle. They helped make the graduation special for us. And then there was Noni. I’ll write a separate blog about Noni. And also at the top of my angel list was Jenna’s lovely mom, Joanne. She is so generous and loving. At the festival she wanted to buy everything I looked at. We need to buy the things that people have made. They are trying to make a living and we want to help them was always her excuse. She is an amazing woman.


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