Wednesday, June 21, 2006


June 20th, 2006


All three of my children have graduated from high school and all three have graduated from community college.  My oldest son Jim has had to put the last year of his BA on hold after being hired as a policeman.  Michael will graduate with his BA from WWU in August.  Kelly is attending UNLV working on her BA. My kids had a loving supportive parent and step parent to talk with them, support them, guide them, and love them through any question, problem, or dilemma they may have had.

Tonight I felt privileged and honored to attend a graduation ceremony for the local Options and GRADS programs with my Mt. Baker Chapter Harley Owners Group officers and members-- better know as my friends and family.  GRADS is a program to help pregnant and teen parents complete their high school diploma.  Options is an alternative program serving kids who don’t fit in a traditional high school program.

Our chapter presents a one thousand dollar scholarship to a graduating senior in our county to help them continue their education.  We provide one of the largest private scholarships in the county.  The first requirement is that a parent, grandparent, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, or legal guardian own a Harley.  We also look at grade point averages and a written essay about the student's relative who owns the Harley.

Tonight was our third annual presentation.  We arrived with eleven bikes, three up, and one cage.  Our chapter director, Mike Kennard, gave a short introduction about our group, and we received a standing ovation from the graduates and the audience.  Watching these kids who have overcome obstacles, hardships, tragedies, and pregnancies while still maintaining their goal to walk across the stage and graduate tonight was just amazing.  Some of these kids have been working one or two jobs and going to school.  Some are helping to support their parents and siblings.  Some are supporting themselves because their parents don’t want the responsibility and kicked them out.  Some of the students have gone through a pregnancy and birth of their baby while going to school.  No one said life is easy, but for some it seems it is just a little harder and for these students you cheer a little harder and louder when they accomplish what many high school students take for granted.

The parents, friends, relatives, boyfriends, girlfriends, school teachers, principal, superintendent, and Harley members cried, cheered, laughed, hooted, and whistled as they celebrated a major milestone in the lives of these successful students.  Having someone to believe in them, a safe place to learn, and encouraging words made all their hard work a dream come true.

When the students moved that tassel from one side to the other and threw those hats into the air, they laughed and hooted and whistled because they had done what some thought they couldn’t do.

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