By Sheila Myers, communications writer
Sitting on the bleachers of the football stadium among hundreds of anxious family members, I watched as one-by-one, 500 high school graduates in blue caps and billowing gowns paraded down the field. It wasnít the cool breeze giving me goose bumps on that jubilant May evening, but the thrill of watching my oldest daughter receive her diploma.
As a parent, the occasion of my daughterís graduation is one of indescribable pride and joy. The event is a major milestone in her life, the beginning of another chapter, and marks the culmination of years of hard work.
From the day Bernadette was born, there was never any doubt that she would attend high school. This expectationóthat our children will graduate from high schoolóis commonly shared by all the parents of my daughterís friends. Itís probably shared by most American parents: 73 percent of American students graduate from high school.
So I wonder how the parents of CFCA students feel when their children graduate from high school. I know that even with sponsorship support, parents make painful choices so their children can stay in school. It can cost a typical household a monthís income for bus fare alone, not to mention supplies and books.
I read about Daniel, a CFCA sponsored student in El Salvador who graduated last December. Daniel was raised by his father, a single parent who struggled to keep finding work so that Daniel and his two siblings could stay in school. At one point, Daniel had to leave school to help his father earn money, but then his father made him return. Daniel walked four miles to high school every day, even in the rainy season.
Like me and my husband, Danielís father understands that education is important for our childrenís future. We are both willing to make sacrifices so they can achieve their dreams, although I recognize the sacrifices Danielís father has made are far greater than ours. His effort is no less than heroic.
I hope when Danielís father watched Daniel receive his diploma, that he took time to savor the moment, to forget about lifeís daily pressures and to feel proud that he played a part in Danielís success.