We were invited to share in #1 Nephew's high school graduation celebration which happened this past weekend. He attended and graduated from the same school district as both his parents, uncles and paternal grandmother. He was following family tradition.
They had all the pomp and circumstance of a high school graduation ceremony. There was the traditional march in of the graduates, the speakers, class video and presentation of diplomas. There were the necessary tears as the family flowers were presented. The receiving line also had the tossing of the mortar boards.
The preceding evening was his reception. He has a maternal cousin who graduated in the same class so they had a combined celebration. He displayed his many awards, the medal board his dad had made for him and pictures. He guest book was actually a poster that everyone could sign. That was actually a clever idea. His citizenship award is very impressive and is his high school hall-of-fame award. He followed in the tradition of this parents who were hall-of-fame award winners as well back in their high school days. Great-grandmother Helen would have said "he comes from good stock."
#1 Nephew was also kind enough to allow his cousin to invite her college roommate along for the celebration.. Now Miss Zhen is from a small town (500,000) in China. She is attending UNK on the 1-2-1 program in conjunction with a university in her city. She attends college for her first and final years in her homeland while attending the middle years here at UNK.
Miss Zhen attended her first high school graduation reception and ceremony. She explained they don't graduate from school. They take examinations and are done with what we would consider high school. She gave up more traditional travel opportunities at the end of the current semester, such as traveling to a large American City, to see how our family celebrates graduation in rural Nebraska.
Besides the graduation, she was thrilled to actually see the place highlighted on the Nebraska state quarter. She has a coin collection she began when she found out the state quarters represented each of the 50 states. We took her out to Chimney Rock both during the day to the visitor center and in the evening to see it lit up. The evening visit she described as "just beautiful." And I will admit, it is impressive at night and on Saturday evening, a lone star on the horizon added to the moment.
She was fascinated with the Native American historic items as well. I made certain to get a Nebraska Historic passport and got her a Chimney Rock stamp. We encouraged her to go to the Archway and Ft. Kearny before she leaves to add to the stamp collection. She also thought it was great to see 'open' spaces. While we wanted to take a wagon trail ride out to the Rock, the 'spring' weather did not cooperate as it would have been too darned cold. Pioneers we aren't.
We also stopped at Cabela's in Sidney on the way back across the Nebraska by-ways. One of my 'tradition' has been to sit the girls down in front of the elk statue and take photos. As my own kids will attest, they have not been entirely thrilled over the years when I have made them get a photo taken there. One or the other was usually in a humor but for some reason... hmmm... they were both very eager to share this 'tradition' with Miss Zhen.
Miss Zhen was very respectful and curious about our traditions. On Saturday, the proud grandparent of our newest graduate held a celebration dinner and she wanted to know where to sit at the table. She explained they had traditions to sit in specific places at dinner. We aren't traditional in that respect but it was very interesting to learn an aspect of her traditions as well.
We are just folks from the heartland of the country, we had a traditional celebration weekend which we shared with our new friend from China. We enjoyed the weekend and learned many things. By all accounts, Miss Zhen enjoyed learning about our traditions as well. We are grateful our younger daughter gave all of us the opportunity to meet and get to know her friend.