When I was in school, elementary school was from grades 1-6. Now it is 1-5 and then the children ‘graduate’ to middle school, which is 6-8.

So now each child has four graduations. Kindergarten, Fifth, Eighth and High School. Here in Hawaii that means lots of hoop la. Each child gets leis from their friends and relatives. Children and parents give leis to their favorite teachers. And of course, lots of balloons.

Last week my eleven year old grandson ‘graduated’ from fifth grade. The ceremony was held in the school cafeteria. Forty boys and girls (two classes) marched in two by two and then after speeches from students, principal and teachers, got their diplomas.

Each child walked across the ‘stage’ and it was interesting to note that most of the boys still looked like little boys, but most of the girls were not only taller and beginning to have ‘curves’, they were dressed in either long dresses and ‘heels’ or in current fashions.

There were some teary moments when one of the children in a wheelchair and another one with Down syndrome proudly received their awards.

Then they went out on the lawn, with Diamond Head looming in the background. All the children were given leis and candy.Image 1 Image Image 2The children had a celebration lunch at the Pacific Beach Hotel and at the end of the day, received their final report cards.

When Steven gave his report card to his dad, (my son), there was another item underneath. It was a royal blue cardboard folder with a large embossed star on the cover. When my son opened it, he nearly fainted. It was a National Scholastic Award printed to Steven, and signed by the President of the United States, Barack Obama and also the Secretary of Education. Complete with presidential seal.

I guess that is something to write about. Especially since this was Steven’s first year in the United States and first year going to a public school. Born in the Philippines and educated in Singapore, at first he struggled.

My son took it to the admissions office of the school he is applying to and the dean of admissions said he had only seen one of these once before and not any this year.

So as a proud grandma, I just had to tell this story.