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Daughter officially graduated from high school today. Erik and I are so proud we could light fireworks with the mere force of our beings.

Not only did Daughter graduate, she was valedictorian of her 207-member class. I point this out not because we’re claiming bragging rights (okay, maybe we are a little), but because she worked so hard in achieving and maintaining that position.

This last couple of months of school have been incredibly stressful for her due to her involvement with the high school’s economics team. Not only has she had her regular AP classes to keep up with, she had to study a semester’s worth of economics after school almost every day with her team. (That work paid off, too, when her team won the state Econ Challenge competition, and then won the national Personal Finance Challenge.)

Daughter took all of this on herself, driving herself to keep up with everything that was required, making the extra effort to turn in the best work she could. She would not have been satisfied with any less. Even with her crazy schedule and heavy load, she still found time to hang out with friends, who mean the world and thirty-nine M&M cookies to her.

As valedictorian, Daughter had to give a speech to her graduating class. She fretted over what to say and how to say it. She wanted to be inclusive, reaching out to everyone in the class, not just to those who were closest to her. She wanted to keep her speech short because, in her words, “Who wants to listen to me?” Above all, she wanted to avoid sappiness.

Her speech went off without a hitch. She didn’t trip on the stage as she feared. She didn’t stumble over her words or speak too fast, nor did she mumble. She has a lovely, clear, sonorous voice. Afterward, she told me that she almost started crying at the beginning of her speech because she had looked down at the graduates and saw one of her friends crying. I almost cried several times during the ceremony, but kept telling myself to hold it together in an effort to lend Daughter silent support. Erik leaned over after Daughter’s speech and said, “I managed not to cry, barely.” (My goodness, we’re an almost weepy bunch, aren’t we?) Daughter admitted she couldn’t look at us during the speech because she would have cried for certain.

Do you ever smile so wide and so long that your cheeks and teeth ache? That’s my expression over Daughter’s accomplishment. (With a few tears mixed in).

Congratulations, Daughter! We love you!

Daughter giving her speech at graduation, May 30, 2010.

Daughter giving her speech at graduation. Forgive the blurriness; small camera & too much distance. May 30, 2010.

Daughter with her high school diploma, May 30, 2010.

Daughter with her high school diploma, May 30, 2010.

The Warner family on Daughter's graduation day, May 30, 2010.

The Warner family on Daughter's graduation day, May 30, 2010.

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