Saturday, June 7, 2014

Graduating: International Style

Graduating: International Style

Dutch tradition of hanging backpack on the flag after kids are done with school

People in my family have been graduating from high school for generations. But as time has gone on… things have gotten a tad harder to accomplish that lovely goal. My grandparents… I’m pretty sure they completed their high school degree. Both were serious, hardworking people with a wicked sense of humor. They were just a joy to be around. Who in their right mind wouldn’t give a degree to them?

My parents… yes, they both graduated from high school although I know my father spent more time in the pool hall than in study hall. A skill that would carry him through life with a big smile on his face. My mom and dad were both loved by many friends throughout their lives and kept those same friends till the end. In my mother’s year book of 1949 there was a picture of her walking through the campus. The picture said…. To school she walks a mile; soon she’ll walk the wedding isle. Truth be told, she was already married and carrying my sister. Not an easy task for a teen, marriage, pregnant and still able to complete her degree. I am so very proud of her.

Me…. Not even sure how I was able to graduate from high school. If you’ve ever read the children’s book Leo the Late Bloomer… that was definitely me! I rarely studied and really had no clue on how to study. I went to school during a time with what they called at our school… modular scheduling. This left a lot of time free for what should have been study time.. but I put it to use as socialization time. A pretty good skill now that I look back. Not everything in life can be learned from a book. But somehow, I managed to pass.
Me with my friend Cheryl the night we graduated! 

I was the first of my sisters to head off to college and with the Grace of God met my future husband. I was already in my grove of meeting friends and having fun when we started dating. But… I would soon learn… if I wanted to hang out with him, it would be at the library. What the heck was that? Well…. I FINALLY figured out how to study and apply my God given talents and knowledge to what was expected of me. What I learned, we all bloom at our own rate. It’s good to let children be… until they are ready.
Proud of our baby girl

This past weekend, our littlest one graduated from an International School. Making an international move in her sophomore year was not easy. Not at all! She was in a new country, with a new language, new friends, new house and a whole new way of being educated.

In the States… the kids were given a wonderful education, one of the best in the world. But information was taught to them or fed to them. In either small or large amounts, kids were then expected to test, quiz or somehow show they had the knowledge they had just been taught. Lots of information kept in the brain for a while.  When finals would come up… the dreaded cramming for exams would begin. Cramming everything you had learned over the year to be able to spit it out of your head for the test. I say this from experience… lived it, learned it, taught it… survived it!

Here in The Netherlands, our daughter entered an International school that offered an IB program. The International Baccalaureate program is a world recognized program to develop that is very student driven and rigorous.

Here is their mission statement… The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. To this end the organization works with schools, governments and international organizations to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment. These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.—International Baccalaureate Mission Statement

As I said above.. Getting a high school degree isn’t what it used to be. Kids are expected to know more and more in a fast paced, technology driven future. Young adults are expected to have a wide spectrum of knowledge to not only graduate but qualify for college. So to all those going through graduation this year or another time.. my hat’s off to you! Job well done! The world appreciates you being smarter than the generation before.
The lights at night catching the confetti and caps as they fly

 And to my little one… my precious girl.. mommy is so proud of you!

My friend Sam made this as a gift for Amy.. oh so cute!

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