It’s raining in Erie, PA, but the dreary weather cannot dampen the spirit of the Barber National Institute today. At this time each year I’m moved by the strength, resilience, and perseverance of our students and staff as they reach this milestone: graduation.
Graduation for our students is pretty typical. Pomp and Circumstance plays, diplomas passed out, caps and gowns worn and a slide show of photos of the graduates shown.
But everyone in the room feels something extraordinary…
Children, who couldn’t walk when they began school at BNI, walk across the stage.
Children, who couldn’t express, smile as they are recognized.
Children, who struggled each day, breathe in a moment of pure joy.
Tears flow as parents marvel at the accomplishments of their sons and daughters. Cheers erupt as teachers and supporters celebrate the triumphs of the children.
I met many of these young people when they were learning to walk and talk. I feel grateful to have witnessed them grow and mature and become very successful. I’ve had the privilege of becoming friends with many parents for years. We have made the journey together. I always tell the parents that although we may not see each other on a regular basis any longer, the BNI and I will always be there for you as you continue the journey.
Congratulations to our graduates, their families, caregivers and supporters. And, congratulations to our teachers and staff for your support, effort, and dedication to our students. Dreams are coming true at BNI tonight and more dreams will be fulfilled for the boys and girls who follow in the footsteps of our graduates.