What do you get when you take 37 high school seniors who have seriously struggled with learning, a roomful of families and friends, and some great speeches and surprises? A really wonderful graduation ceremony! Probably the best graduation ceremony I’ve ever been to, actually. It was short and incredibly touching. I’m so proud of my little bro.
Kyle started going to The Cottage School when he was in sixth grade. As a wee little tyke, he had always impressed people with his intelligence, his keen observation (and conversation) skills, and his sweet and friendly nature. But when it came time to learn how to read and write, my parents discovered that what had seemed like an easy road for their smart and affable son had turned into an expedition up Everest. They tried public school, tutoring, special ed, “resource” classes, etc. Flash cards, spelling games, tracing-the-letter workbooks. Nothing was really working. Kyle was falling behind his peers in spite of all the efforts. Before we knew it, my brother was in third grade and still couldn’t get all the way through Cat in the Hat. So, finally, my parents found The Cottage School. Small classes, innovative learning methods, and a supportive, adaptive environment turned out to be just what Kyle needed. Now he text messages me with the same speed as any other teenager. His GPA is above 3.0 and he even got the Principal’s Award for being such a kind and compassionate student during his 7 years at TCS.
None of us knew he was getting that award, not even Kyle, and I was definitely crying as the principal described Kyle’s qualities. The TCS staff really know him, beyond his academic side, and I was sure it was my brother she was talking about long before she announced the recipient. Because the one thing that everyone notices about Kyle, right off the bat, is how deeply and genuinely he cares for others. It’s almost unnatural, how intensely he empathizes with people. He handles himself with such grace in awkward situations… times when something so crappy has happened that no one knows what to say- that’s when Kyle shines. He’s able to read people and know what they need, how to be there for them and still give them space to grieve or rage or be numb. And now he’s off to explore the world on his terms, to figure out his career, to fall in love, to be an adult. I hope he enjoys the journey.