A Graduation Speech

An Essay By LoriAnn // 5/21/2010


Dear Apricot Pies;
I suppose I should alert you all to the fact that my Apricot Status has just changed, as of Sunday, May 16. I am now a homeschool graduate, rather than a homeschooler! I had a great ceremony, despite the fact that it was on such short notice—we only had two weeks to plan, as we were out of town for two weeks and only learned three days before we left that I had been accepted into an early summer work program at my college: I have to be on campus by next Sunday. Please pray for me!
Anyway, as a sort of milestone, I thought I’d post my graduate’s address that Dad had me give, since of course I graduated valedictorian of my class. J Hope you enjoy, and again—please pray for me as I’m moving into a dorm and getting used to a new schedule and meeting new people…I’ll need your prayers.
Well, this is it, I guess. Today I move from being a high-school student to being a college student; next Sunday I’ll move from being a kid at home with her parents to a very scared kid on a college campus, waving goodbye to her parents. But Mom’s going to cry enough as it is, so that’s all I’ll say on that subject.
It’s hard to believe that I’m graduating. Somehow it’s always seemed like things would never change—I’d just move up a grade, read, yet again about the Pilgrims settling America, get some new math problems, and that would be it. And I guess, in some ways, that’s true. But college is so different than high school in so many ways—many, probably most, of which I don’t know about yet. But I’ll have plenty of time to learn.
Samuel Clemens—better known as Mark Twain—once said, “There are those who imagine that…life's "experiences"—are in some way useful to us. I wish I could find out how. I never know one of them to happen twice. They always change off and swap around and catch you on your inexperienced side.” I think I agree with the sentiment. I’ve had plenty of experiences, but I have never felt more inexperienced than I have the last couple weeks, madly trying to get everything ironed out for this graduation and my early departure for College next week. It’s the start of a whole new chapter in my life—and to be perfectly honest, I’m not sure I want to be finished with the last one just yet.
I started homeschooling in the first grade, after attending public school for my kindergarten year. I realize now that my parents were extremely brave to do this—at the time, homeschooling was still one of those weird things that very few people did. But they jumped right into it, with lesson plans and charts and curriculum packages and a certainty that this was what God wanted them to do. Really, this graduation is more a celebration of them than it is of me—this is a real milestone for them. Their first kid, all dressed up in a cap and gown. They can look at each other and say, “We did it. It worked.”
Congratulations, Mom and Dad. You got me through eleven whole years of school: through learning to spell “truly” (believe it or not, that word tripped me up for ages), through learning the dreaded multiplication tables, through music lessons and riding lessons and ACT prep and countless quizzes and tests, through chickenpox and Tolkien crazes, through disappointments in friends and frustrations with algebra…somehow you’ve even managed to put up with my craziness as a wanna-be writer. You’ve done double duty as teachers and parents, and you’ve done great. As I used to tell you when I was little, “You’re the best mommy and daddy I’ve ever had.”
For me, being homeschooled has been the best possible preparation for “real life”. Yes, I’ll probably make a fool of myself a few times—scratch that. I’ll probably make a fool of myself a lot of times. But when it comes right down to the important things, like my faith and my values and my worldview in general, the things I’ve learned at home will never fail me.
I will admit that sometimes being a homeschooler has been tough. Being a homeschooled pastor’s kid can be even tougher. I once introduced myself to someone, and when he found out that I was both a homeschooler and a PK, he looked a bit taken aback.
“Wow,” he told me. “You’re really on the fringe.”
What can I say? He’s right. But it doesn’t necessarily have to do with being a homeschooler or a PK. As a Christian, I’m almost always going to be on the fringe. Even though we like to claim that our country is a Christian nation, the truth is that The Truth is very seldom tolerated anymore.
As a Christian who truly believes that every word in the Bible is inspired by God and is absolutely true—from Genesis One to the last verse of Revelation…well, that puts me on the fringe even in a lot of Christian circles. People don’t like to talk about absolute truth anymore, but I don’t think that there are many subjects more important.
Convictions like these could put me on the untouchables list in many places, but they are the convictions that my parents have instilled in me for as long as I can remember, and I know that they’ll stand me in good stead at college and for the rest of my life.
I also have my church family to thank for the person I’ve grown into. Many of you have touched my life—and that of my family—in very special ways. Trusting me to babysit your grandkids, reading and commenting on my writing, having long talks with me about how to fix the world at large, teaching me how to decorate a cake or how to lose my fear of chickens...and that’s just the bare surface.
What else can I say, except ask you to pray for me? Pray for me that I will stand strong in my faith; that I will have focus in my classes and in my work; that I’ll make the right choices and follow God’s leading in all things; that I’ll be able to discern his will for my life. And pray for my parents, as they continue to homeschool my other siblings.
One of my favorite Christian singers, Sara Groves, has a song called “He’s Always Been Faithful”. In closing, I’d like to share the lyrics with you, both as a reminder to myself, and an encouragement to you.
Morning by morning I wake up to find
The power and comfort of God’s hand in mine
Season by season I watch him amazed
In awe of the mystery of his perfect ways
All I have need of his hand will provide
He’s always been faithful to me
I can’t remember a joy or a pain
He did not recycle to bring me gain
I can’t remember one single regret
In serving God only and trusting his hand
All I have need of His hand will provide
He’s always been faithful to me
This is my anthem, this is my song
The theme of the stories I’ve heard for so long
God has been faithful, he will be again
His loving compassion, it knows no end
All I have need of his hand will provide
He’s always been faithful to me


Ack, you're gonna make me cry

Ack, you're gonna make me cry on the internet! Yes, now she's taking off and I'll be stuck in a houshold of BOYS. But of course I'm proud of my sis, and I'm at least no 'disowning' her as Dad claims to be. :)

Kay J Fields | Fri, 05/21/2010

Visit my writing/book review blog at http://transcribingthesedreams.blogspot.com/


*claps and nods heartily, wishing for some smilies to show her approval* So, this is the validictorian speech for a class of one. Perhaps I shall post mine for a class of *cough* more then one. I will most definately be praying for you over the summer. College...a creepy though, hm?

I may not be a homeschooled PK, but I certianly have experianced the "sheltered" comments. My friend at public was like, "Don't you have a game system? Don't you care if guys are hot?" Of course, I answered her honestly because she is my friend, and not just asking to annoy the guts out of me, like some others have.

You did an excellant job of weaving in humurous comments, like "fear of chickens"--do you really have one? I have a very very high respect for horses, ever since one stepped on my foot while I was wearing flip-flops--and "reading about the Pilgrims" over and over. But you also did a good job of being series. In fact, yours' makes mine seem frivolous, but I couldn't pull off a really serious one about high school...in fact, I have a mocking poem I must post here soon....

With all that said, best wishes and prayers for your future.

Julie | Fri, 05/21/2010

Formerly Kestrel

Congrats, LoriAnn! Good luck

Congrats, LoriAnn! Good luck at college ;)

E | Sun, 05/23/2010

"You were not meant to fit into a shallow box built by someone else." -J. Raymond

*sniff, sniff* Doggone it, I

*sniff, sniff* Doggone it, I miss you girl! And once I move down there again you'll be in college and I'll miss you even more! :0)

I hope you enjoy college. Don't stress, have fun, and be nice to all the other children even if they do make fun of being homeschooled. ;0)


Heather | Sun, 05/23/2010

And now our hearts will beat in time/You say I am yours and you are mine...
Michelle Tumes, "There Goes My Love"

Thanks all! Kestrel--I want

Thanks all! Kestrel--I want to read yours.

Heather--thanks, I won't. :)

Love you all--and this doesn't mean I'm leaving or anything. I'll still come on here quite often. (I hope!)


LoriAnn | Mon, 05/24/2010


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