Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Graduates.. wherein I brag about my kids!

The school year FINALLY ended for us yesterday. Phew! And what an eventful end it was. BOTH girls graduated their respective schools in the last two days!

Here is where I exercise my bragging rights to the full extent of my freedom to do so. You have been warned! ;) ...

Our youngest daughter, Anna, graduated from middle school (8th grade) on Monday night and will be starting high school in September. I can't believe my baby is going to high school! She finished her middle school career with a Presidential Award for Educational Excellence having earned high academic achievement measured with GPA of 3.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale (90 or above on a 100 scale) for her entire middle school years (6th-8th) and having also achieved high scores on state and national standard achievement tests. She also earned High Honors in Literature and Process Writing this year. Separate from her academic achievements, Anna earned her Girl Scout Silver Award this year having completed a long term community service project of improving the visitation rooms in a local DYFS [Division of Youth and Family Services] office where children in the foster care program are now able to reconnect with their parents in cheerful, inviting rooms that are uplifting and conducive to healthy interaction and playtime. We're so proud of her!

Our oldest daughter, Maria, graduated from high school last night.. I cannot believe we are the parents of an 18 year old high school graduate! Where did the time go? I didn't think I was going to get emotional at her graduation, but at one point my husband whispered to me that he just saw her yawn and when I looked at her, she did look kind of sleepy (I think the heat was getting to everyone--it was pretty hot sitting out there in the football field wearing those graduation gowns!). I was instantly flooded with memories of her as a baby falling asleep in my arms or sleeping alongside me in bed as a toddler and I couldn't stop the tears from welling in my eyes. I was simultaneously overwhelmed by the quick passage of time and at the same time filled with so much pride in the intelligent, conscientious, responsible, compassionate and beautiful young woman she has become.

Like her younger sister, Maria also graduated with excellent academic standing. She was a member of the high school's University Program since freshman year, a member of the National Honor Society and graduated in the top 10% of her class with a GPA above 4.2. Her senior research project was on the sexual exploitation of women in the media, a suitable subject for her as it combined her passion for photography and other visual arts with an important social issue. She was also active in several clubs, community service projects and a member of the swim team for one year and the girls volleyball team all four years. In September she'll be attending Rutgers University (my Alma Mater), possibly double majoring in photo journalism and women's and gender studies. Naturally, we are very proud of her.

Now for some photos!

Anna and her friends dressed up for the 8th grade semi-formal dance. Anna is in the black and white dress at the bottom right.

8th grade semi-formal
Maria and Nick going to senior prom. Don't they look great? These two have known each other since kindergarten and started dating halfway through their freshman year in high school. He'll be going to an art school in NYC in September where he plans to study graphic design. Interestingly, Maria and Nick were named female and male 'Best Artist' in their high school this year--Maria for her talent in photography and Nick for his talent in all fine arts, painting is forte. He even received 1st place in a private art show in our community last spring. Anyway, they had a really nice time at the prom. Maria said the sweetest part of the night was that Nick willingly danced with her all night even though he doesn't like to dance. Aw.. very sweet.

Maria & Nick
Senior Prom
I don't have any photos of Anna on her 8th grade graduation - my husband has them on his computer. But she wore the same pretty white sundress for her sister's graduation last night, so I figure that works! My best friend from childhood (from when we were 4 years old!), who is also Maria's godmother, came to Maria's graduation last night. Her presence really made the day special. Here are all of us girls walking to the graduation site:

Me, Anna, Maria and her godmother Angela
Here's a photo of my two Class of 2013 graduates.. high school and 8th grade:
Maria and Anna
Finally, the proud parents... 
My husband and me
Certainly an eventful time in our household! May the academic achievements, personal growth and simple enjoyment of life continue for everyone! xo 


  1. Oh my goodness. I love posts like this. Happy times! Congrats to your gorgeous girls! You must be one proud mama!

  2. Congrats! You have a lot to be proud of!

  3. Thank you very much, Ti and Linda! :))

  4. You are two beautiful and talented daughters ~ congrats to them both!!

  5. Congratulations Christine! And wow for your daughters' achievements!

    Also, Maria and Anna look so much alike now that they are almost the same height!! In the 8th grade semi-formal picture, I actually thought it was Maria until I read the caption!

    Oh and I'm glad Maria chose your Alma Mater :P

  6. Thank you Catherine! Do you have any graduates in your house this year?

    nath Thank you so much! We are very proud of them. :)

    I know! They are only an inch or two apart in height and then an inch or two from me! They can share clothes and even shoes! Unfortunately Maria will be taking her clothes with her to college so Anna will be forced to wear her own stuff. LOL!

  7. I just love how proud you are of your girls, and they sound like lovely young ladies.
    Best of luck to them in high school and in college :) and many, many congrats to everyone ;)

  8. LOL, so Maria is not going to stay at home?

  9. Wow! It's been busy at your house - two graduations! Congratulations to the girls - and their exhausted, albeit proud, parents :)

  10. Congratulations to both Graduates! It's tough watching kids grow up and you have every right to toot the "Proud Mama" horn!

  11. Thank you, Alex! I'm glad you think it's nice and not annoying how much I talk about how proud I am of them. Of course they aren't perfect, but I love them just the way they are. ;)

    nath Oh no, not at all. We both want her to live on campus. Gabe commuted when he went to college, but I lived on campus all four years. I think it's an invaluable experience for a lot of reasons. Most of all, it taught me confidence, responsibility and independence. Plus it was TONS of fun! ;)

    Wendy Thank you! Yes, it has been a whirlwind around here for the last couple of weeks.. so many memorable moments!

    Brandy Thank you so much for the congrats and understanding for my "Proud Mama horn!" :)

  12. Lovely pictures and many congrats to your girls - those are great achievements!

    I totally agree with your campus living points - though she'll be getting the best of both worlds if you're within easy commuting distance ;-)


  13. Awwwww... I am so happy for you and for them! Congrats!

    Thank you for sharing this~~~ I love reading about them and seeing your young ladies grow and do such wonderful things. What wonderful parents you and your husband are. :)

    Just think in a few more years, Maria will be college grad and Anna will be college bound. *happy sigh* Where does the time go... :)

  14. Beautiful! Time goes way to fast :)


  15. What an accomplishment for your family--congrats to the girls and to you parents for doing such a great job. And can I just say that you both look WAY too young to have a high school graduate? :)

  16. bookdaze Thanks, Li! Not only is Rutgers only about 45 minutes away from home, my husband works there. The Rutgers campus is HUGE, though (4.2 sq.mi. = 10.8 sq. km) .. so they won't see each other unless they plan it! ;)

    little_alys Thank you, sweetie! I'm glad you enjoy these family updates. :)

    I was thinking the same thing yesterday.. four years from now we'll be celebrating two graduations AGAIN! lol!

    luv46kdz Thanks, Paula! You know it!

    Too Fond Wow Beth, thats's the best comment ever! LOL! Thank you so much for the congratulatory wishes! And thanks so much for saying we look way too young to have a high school graduate. Ha! My husband and I were 32 and 26 respectively when Maria was born.

  17. Congratulations to your girls and to you, Christine! This is definitely the perfect time to brag. :D

  18. You have EVERY right to brag, they are both beautiful human beings--and you and your husband have worked hard to guide them to become who they are now.

    Kudos to you!

  19. Wow. Smart and accomplished young women. Must get it from their mom, huh? :)

  20. Huge congrats to you all! Such an exciting time

  21. Hilcia Thank you so much! :)

    azteclady Thank you so much. I really appreciate the kind words.

    Janicu Thanks. I like to think so. ;)

    Lori Thank you! It is exciting! And interesting. ;)

  22. Lovely pictures of the family. You have a right to brag!


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