I put the photos in frames at least a year ago but walking by them recently they jumped out at me from their perch on top of the bookshelf in the penthouse (lol). The penthouse is what I call the third floor of our house because it’s mostly my husband’s domain. (It reminds me of his 12th floor apartment that he lived in while we were dating.)
The photos are of our three children – two young women and one young man – all of whom have their undergraduate degrees. This is something we feel immensely proud of.
My son earned a full scholarship to Northeastern University and went straight through, graduating cum laude. He attended a year and a half of acting school after (having given no indication that he was interested in acting before NU – at least not that I remember.)
My daughter meandered through, stopping along the way to her bachelor’s (as did her mother…that would be me…before her) but she graduated from Queen’s College. She has worked in positions of increasing responsibility at BOA and is now deciding what road she’ll take for her graduate degree and a new career. My new daughter graduated from The Art Institute of Atlanta (she’s a dynamite graphic artist) and is pursuing a Master’s degree in business administration.
My two birth children grew up in inner-city Boston. While it was always presumed, assumed and voiced that they would get college degrees (continuing the tradition in our family set by my mother and my siblings) it was by no means certain that this would be achieved. There are lots of obstacles, especially for Black, urban children, most especially for Black males, on the way to a college degree.
Among the obstacles are:
- Low expectations of some teachers, guidance counselors, and other adults.
- Naysayers among family, friends and peers.
- Money. Money. Money.
- Societal images of their peers as not being college graduates.
- The temptation to work instead of finishing college.
- The irrelevance of some of the course work.
- The uncertainty of what to study.
- Frustration about and fear of declaring a major (as in is this really what I want to do for the rest of my life?)
- Uneven support at college.
Still, there were supports and they persevered. One of the major statements having a degree makes is that you were able to start and finish a goal, handling the difficulties along the way. You all done good!
Applause, applause to you three. Your father and I are proud of your degrees and the personal achievement it represents for you as well as the validation that we did something right. (We’re also proud of how you’re living your young adult lives.) May your dreams and goals continue to come true.