I'm a week late with this post, but better late than never. I started feeling bad that I hadn't posted about Dan's ALS graduation since our families do read this to keep up with us.
On Thursday, Feb 12th, bebe graduated from his 6 weeks of ALS. He was so glad to be done!
We made signs before the ceremony. As usual, when I'm rushing, my handwriting is sloppy and I ran out of room for "CONGRATS". Genie drew on the bottom and randomly wrote "sit" on there as well. lol
As we waited for his name to be called up to the stage, I couldn't help but think about how proud I was of him. I knew that he busted his ass studying, doing homework, and preparing for briefings. I remember what it was like when I went through 2 years prior. Seeing him standing in line, I knew he had a bittersweet feeling surging through his body; relieved and glad that it was over and he had passed, a little sad that he it was all over.
As his name was called to the stage, we all cheered him own. Genie jumped up and down, calling out "YAY, DADDY!" I was in the middle aisle taking pictures of him and the next thing I knew, genie was running up on stage!! I tried to call out for her to come back, but the big boss, the wing king, Col Dillon, welcomed her up on stage with open arms so she could congratulate Dan. Of course, the room was filled with awes and comments of how cute it was.
After the ceremony, we headed upstairs to watch the slide shows that the flights all made. The last part of the day ceremony was retreat; the last and final time that they would lower the flag as a class, as ALS 09-B.
Another funny coincidence about Dan's class; he was on color guard as I was when I went though. lol I'll have to ask my buddy for a copy of our last retreat. :p
When retreat was over, the flts met up with their instructors for instructions for when to be back to set up for the banquet later that night.
He went to eat lunch with the parents and Genie while I headed back to work to try and finish what I could. We were going to the banquet later that night together, but didn't since he had to rush over to the center since he had to help set up and practice bringing in the flag. When I got there, I waited for them to open the doors since they wouldn't let anyone enter the dining area until 1630. I did get to chit chat with some people that showed up, so I wasn't a complete loner. :p
When they let us into the hall, I found our table and pretty much waited for people to filter into the room and for them to start dinner. The students walked in and Dan walked in with the rest of the color guard. The students were released to their tables after the nat'l anthem and the invocation.
They did the typical explanations about what it is to be a leader and the course that they went through to finally join the ranks of front line supervisors. After the initial speeches, it was time to eat. I think everyone at our table ordered the pork dish, which was rather enjoyable. After the meal was intermission, which meant that it was almost time to give out the awards.
The first award mentioned after we came back from intermission was the leadership award. Each flt nominated one of their peers that demonstrated the most leadership qualities. Dan was still shocked that he was picked for his flight.
He stood up as the nominee for his flight, but did not receive the award. We actually thought it would be him as the announcing instructor said,
"And the leadership award goes to SrA Daniel......blah blah blah."
Wrong Daniel. Oh well. The next award was the academic achievement, the person that received the highest overall score in all areas (writing, interpersonal, academics, and briefs). Then came DG, distinguished graduate, top 10% of the ALS class. Dan and another one of his mates from his flight were DGs.
On his way back, he was congratulated by the MXG CC, MXG chief, his squadron CC, first shirt, and everyone at our table. I was so proud of him for winning something. :)
At the end of the night, you could find every one of the ALS students trying to round up their class mates from their flt for a final flt picture. Everyone talking about keeping in touch and hanging out soon to keep their newly formed friendships strong.
Dan went out to celebrate with the rest of his class and I took genie home after picking her up from our friend's house. Hopefully Dan keeps in touch with his new friends and does keep the thought about bring an instructor alive. I think he'd be a great instructor. :)