Saturday, July 11, 2009

Fray Education Center Graduation 2009

In June the Fray Education Center had their graduation. It was held at Rustburg Elementary School this year. Once again, the Principal's family and friends ( many are members of Republican Grove UMC) prepared and served dinner to the graduates and their families. Doots Abbott, the mother of the principal, Janeen Abbott, prepared the desserts. The peach cobbler was wonderful. If you've been reading this blog for long you'll have noticed my affinity for desserts. The dinner is a gesture to the grads to make this a very special day and it does. Joanne and I sat and ate with some of the families, you could see that they were impressed.
Again this year I was asked to be the speaker for the graduation. It was unquestionably an honor to be asked. I told them about a guy I served with in the Air Force who described going back to college as joining the "Last Chance Club". The idea was that for those returning to college after being away, most of them realized this was their last chance to make it. Most people probably thought that the students being sent to Fray was their last chance as well. The point was that for my friend and for them it wasn't the "Last Chance Club", but the "New Beginnings Club". I even used John Mark from scripture as an example of someone who got that second chance, overcame, and made good. Expectations do not determine Outcomes.
Graduation at Fray is an exciting thing to watch. The students first got to choose whatever color robe they wanted to wear, it did not have to be their home school colors. Secondly, each student could ask whoever they wanted to give them their diploma. Thirdly, principal, Janeen Abbott, before each presentation, shared something special about each student. Sometimes what she shared was funny, but sometimes the story was heart wrenching. Most all the graduates had had to deal with some hardship to make it to graduation day. Finally, each presenter would share something about the graduate. It impressed me that each one mentioned how bright and intelligent the young person was and how they expected great things from them.

You see, Fray Education Center is an alternative school and the students might be termed as "problem " students by some. They are sent to Fray from other high schools in Campbell County. But, as one teacher told me after the ceremony,"The only difference between these students and 90% of those back at the high schools is that these got caught." I look at it like this, these graduates have endured and triumphed, they've already got a step up on other graduates. Well done, Fray Class of 2009.

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