To the GICC Class of 2018

Dear Central Catholic Class of 2018,

Look at you - all puffed up with pride and so happy to leave us. Somehow you've convinced yourselves that graduation day, with all its pomp and circumstance, is completely about you. And why? Because you're selfish and self-absorbed, that's why. 

Here's a news flash: This day really belongs to your parents. Remember them? The people who gave you life and slung you over their shoulders all night when you were colicky and held your hand in the clinic that time you cracked your knee open? Graduation day, in fact, has virtually nothing to do with you.
Class of 2018, Prom

I repeat. It has nothing to do with you.

Why did I even start this letter to a bunch of clueless kids? Never mind.  Go snap chat or tweet or hash tag or whatever it is you do as you constantly hover over your phones to ignore the adults in your lives. I'm writing to your parents instead. It's time they knew the truth.

Sorry to tell you this, Mr. and Mrs. Llamas - and every other parent of a senior boy. Moises was not bringing boxing gloves to school for Show and Tell in the eighth grade. He was, in fact, organizing the GICC Underground Fight Club, a carefully arranged competition which pitted every eighth grade boy against another in the downstairs locker room. Unbeknownst to the rest of us, the eighth grade boys were duking it out in the bowels of the school after PE class. I hesitate to mention the Ax-bombing which followed or the Day of the Blackout in which Kamirus extinguished all the lights until Ben Benton screamed in terror, blindly chased Kamirus up the stairs, and threatened to kill him in sixh period Study Skills class.

Clyde and Colleen Childers, you were unaware of the chaos in your own backyard during that same out-of-control eighth grade year. Influenced by your own son Tommy, a herd of eighth grade boys pitched objects over your roof - basketballs, bird feeders, lawn furniture - a foolhardy game, which resulted in an accidental injury and a notorious wrestling match between Dominic (alias "Grande") and TJ Haith. 

Speaking of your son Dominic, Friesen parents, you should know he suplexed poor Colton in the locker room. In Dominic's defense, he was only reacting to the frappuccino Colton dumped down his back. Which was right after Dominic smashed an orange on top of Colton's head. Which was right after Colton threw the orange across the cafeteria at Dominic's face. You get the picture.

And to Grayson's mother - God knows you tried. I'm sorry you have to find out this way. It seems in sophomore English Grayson edited Mr. Mohr's Julius Caesar google doc slides to read Julius Caesar Salad. It was an unconscionable act, of course, especially in a Catholic school. Is nothing sacred?

The senior girls, sadly, are no better. In the sixth grade when they were just 12-years-old, Grace, Courtney and Shayla stole Courtney's mother's vehicle to take a little joy ride. Courtney, who knew it was wrong and declared she could never live with herself if she drove her mother's car, tossed the keys to Grace and instructed her to take the wheel instead. The three of them enjoyed a scenic drive around the neighborhood until a policeman pulled up next to them at an adjacent intersection. Grace sat up very tall, assumed a bored expression, and tried to look 27. The policeman never gave them a second look. Tynans, Steensons and Wilsons, your girls may look like adorable angels, but make no mistake about it. They're demons from hell.
Adorable demons

Thankfully, I'm happy to report the rest of you folks were far more successful in the parenting department.

Paul and Cheryl, you'll be happy to know Madie studied hard to become an excellent student and was busted only twice for munching Bugles during English class.

Isaac grew into a tall, fine, handsome young man, and Andrew, who always tried to do the right thing, shouldered the responsibility of being a superlative role model for his younger brothers and sisters. It didn't take with Sam.

Alex, one of the exceptional Ortega triplets, prayed devoutly in the chapel every Thursday during lunch hour Adoration until Tommy McFarland relieved him halfway through. Prayer has been as necessary as breathing to those two boys. If any kid possesses a deeper and more unwavering faith, it's only Shaun Budde. At the tender age of seven during his parents' difficult divorce, Shaun instinctively turned to Jesus and entrusted his family and himself to God's care.

Can there be a sweeter kid than Shaun? Gavin comes close. Kindness radiates from our gentle giant.

Gavin Fox - the gentle giant.
"If neither of us is married by the time we're 40," Grace Tynan confides, "Gavin and I are hooking up."

I stare at her. "Get married now!" I urge. "When will either one of you meet anybody better?"

Jacqui, the sole female of the Ortega trio, was responsible for getting Alex and Berto to school every day, fixing their lunches, and beating them into submission if they ever once challenged her authority. The girl will run a company one day. It'll be easy after what she's been through.

Jonah. Rock solid, dependable, true blue Jonah. The kid could tear up his opponents on the football field but played the pacifist as he broke up every fight between his classmates. His only wish is to come back to GICC to teach World History in four years, and he's hoping against hope Mr. Howard will be dead.

Always unfraid to be herself, Kaitlyn Wiley was a courageous young woman who worked hard, helped others, and endeared herself to all of us.

Bryant Guerrero, fighting instinctive shyness, nearly turned around and never came back after his first day at Central Catholic. "I never saw so many white kids in my whole life!" he admits. We're glad he stayed. He's carved his way into this class with shy charm and classic one-liners.

Brynn was an inspiration to us all as she soldiered through her father's illness and death. Hope loved nobody as much as her darling nieces. Both will make their marks on the world in a big way.

The Ortega triplets
Kaylee laughs out loud, and Lexie laughs silently. Have you ever seen either one of them without those joyous smiles?

Jenna and Abbey are the most unique members of the class. Passionate about her parents, her horses and good books - in that order - Jenna's blessed with a fatal humor that devastates her classmates and teachers. And Abbey is simply too smart to be taken in by an After-Prom hypnotist. "I refuse to be hypnotized," she declares, "because I refuse to allow anyone to control my minid."

The Pilsl twins
We must thank you, Pilsls, Wemhoffs, Weisses and Lees for sending your children to us. Though they arrived late, they seemed to have belonged to us forever. Ronnie charmed us with her sweetness and sass, and Sungjin wound his polite South Korean way into our hearts without even trying. Luke with earnest blue eyes pierced our hearts with his profound writing. And the Pilsl twins? You made this class richer and better with your intellect and humor. Ryan was calm - except for the agonizing moment he asked Ali Nowicki to the homecoming dance. "Derrrrrr" was all he could manage. Dave was quirky - like Woody Allen quirky. It's a good thing to be compared to Woody Allen, Dave. Except that he married his stepdaughter. Don't ever do that, Dave.

It didn't phase artistic Annie to fall down stairs or stumble her way through school, and Nettie never met a stranger who would not one day be a friend. Every kid in school has been the recipient of Nettie's beautiful smile and cheer.

Morgan burst forth from her middle school shell to transform into a lovely cheerleader and prom queen, and Ali shook her wild mane of hair and shot us her million dollar smile.

Without ever drawing attention to themselves, both Kamirus and Carson were the glue that held the senior boys tight. Great entertainers and the world's best audience all at the same time, both were good listeners and loyal friends.

And is there anybody more pleasant than Joe Mueller? He comes from good stock, that boy. His grandma Karen, my classmate and good friend, taught that kid everything he knows.

Mayra is an example to all of us, young or old. The boy made a few mistakes - some big ones. But Mayra was saved by his own goodness and a fervent desire to be better. Now the universe has rewarded him. We're proud of you, Mayra. Good luck next year. And for the love of God, don't screw it up.

Mayra's transformation is a miracle. So are Ben's dance moves and TJ's ACT scores and Nettie's drums and Hope's angelic voice.

But hasn't your entire senior year been a miracle? It started on a sweltering afternoon in August with a total eclipse of the sun and ended with the birth of a baby.

Not one of yours, thank God.

Thank you, GICC senior parents, for the miracle of your children. My husband says it's time to let them go. They're ready to live their lives, discover their gifts, and leave the safe nest of home, he says. Time to see what they can become, he says.

Whatever, is what I say.

We understand we can't keep you. But we'll always remember you. Please remember us. And if you ever get in a jam, need money, or find yourself in a bad way, call Mr. Kester.

Goodbye, kiddos. We love you.


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