It started with the shoes, then came "the look," but the comfortable feeling was what it all came down to.

For the last couple of weeks we have been fortunate to have many parents share the lessons they got from their child's graduation from high school.

Thanks to those of you who forewarned me of the emotion of the event and recommended taking tissues, as tears can be a part of the celebration. Turns out for this dad a small hand towel might have been in order.

The emotions of the ceremony were just the warmup for the tsunami of memories as four years passed right in front of our eyes. That youthful teenager of freshman year is now just a distant memory.

Graduation day, May 22, started with a last-minute dash to the mall for "the dress." The basketball shorts-and-T-shirt ensemble Anna had planned became a thing of her past. The dress she picked was great but a new dress needs the right shoes and the sneakers just wouldn't do.

Deb and I had wrapped our arms around the thought of her graduating in basketball shorts and tennis shoes. So when she came out in her dress we could see the transformation all the more clearly. The shoes told the story - she went with a traditional black dress but the shoes were "to die for."

As she stepped into her graduation gown the transformation continued. The "girl" became a young lady as she zipped herself into her graduation gown. The look on her face said, "It's time. I'm ready."

The graduation ceremonies were just the appetizer for the celebration that was about to erupt. As we took photos with family and friends, I couldn't help but see all the positive energy that filled the ceremony.

Many parents always wonder if they made the right choice of school for their child. As I watched Anna go from hug to hug and photo to photo, I realized that this was the place she was most comfortable.

What I figured out is that when children feel safe and comfortable in their school they have the greatest chance to have a positive experience there.

Enjoy the journey,


E-mail Bob Oro at