June 6, 2012

Alex graduates!

To say this past weekend was relaxed and joyous would not be true. Instead I was stressed, anxious and worried. It was a totally unexpected stream of emotions I never imagined.

In terms of stress....Alex's high school graduation has been the focus of my attention for the last year. We purposely asked the school that Alex graduate with an academic diploma, just like her peers. From Alex's point of view (and ours) she has completed all the requirements to graduate, and although many of her subject matters were modified she did the work and earned the credits. There was one credit missing as of mid year and this was accomplished through an independent study. This was a huge collaborative project and involved a lot of pieces falling into place.

In terms of anxious....The graduation was held indoors at the last minute due to unexpected rain this time of year in our lovely hamlet. As a result the gym was crowded stuffy and the acoustics unintelligible. We could hardly see Alex and it took about 20 minutes to find her after the ceremony.

In terms of worry....Our family came in for the graduation, yet more entertaining on my part. As great as it was to support Alex the pressure of planning, organizing, shopping and transporting was very tough on me. The guests even included an ex brother in law, which is a story for another day.

And of  course, the stress of the graduation party. Alex opted to have her party at WindWalkers and asked for donations to support the scholarship program in lieu of gifts. WindWalkers has been a big part of Alex's life for the last six years, and we live in a family that teaches to "give back". We are happy to say Alex raised over $500 to support WindWalkers!

And finally....Alex is still on the wait list for her college of choice, The College of New Jersey, so rather than look at other colleges Alex has opted to take the year off from school. We figure with a year of experience in the community and maturity her chances of being admitted to the class of 2014 are very strong. So now we have a gap year to design.

But after all, this really isn't about me at all. It is about a very successful 18 year old girl with down syndrome who was one of over 90 students who graduated on June 2nd, 2012 from Basalt High School. The stress, anxiety and worry were worth every second of my time, because in the end, it is all about Alex and her accomplishments.

Yes, I am so happy and proud Alex has graduated. I am so happy and proud we survived our rural school district. And yes, I am exhausted, depleted and anxious. But no time for pity - we have a gap year to design!


  1. It has been so inspiring and enlightening to follow Alex's story. Setting a goal and accomplishing it!
    Congratulations. Enjoy the "year off", and best of luck in achieving your next goals, Alex.

  2. Congratulations, Alex! We are so proud of you. Cassie is at Down Home Ranch Camp this week and I'm sure having a wonderful time. Have a great summer. - Jan

    1. Thanks Jan, hope all is well! Have a nice summer. Gary

  3. What a fabulous accomplishment! Congratulations to both of you. You both worked hard to make this happen.


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