Measuring Graduation

I watched the Thunderbirds fly over our home — just a few miles north of the Academy — for the Air Force Academy graduation. It reminded me of this article published in 2011.

I took an Excursion full of Jeubs to a homeschool graduation party last night. Six students were graduating — all speech and debate students — several Training Minds alumni. Over a hundred people assembled on a ranch and, despite some hefty rain, we all enjoyed the celebration of these young people graduating from high school.

On graduations: The real measurement is where they will be in a few years.

U.S. Air Force Academy graduates throw their hats in the air as the Thunderbirds fly overhead signaling the end of the Air Force Academy graduation ceremony, Colorado Springs, Colo., May 30, 2007. Defense Dept. photo by Cherie A. Thurlby (released)

I made the point of congratulating all the seniors, but the enjoyable part of the evening was connecting with some who were back from college.

One will be graduating from college next year. She interned for Congresswoman Michele Bachmann last year, a likely presidential candidate. We jabbed back and forth about the presidential options out there and if Rep. Bachmann would throw her hat into the ring. I was surprised to hear that Bachmann and her husband had helped raise 23 foster girls. That’s conviction, and it’s exciting to hear of such a strong leader making strides in the political world. More exciting to hear the firsthand account from a former student.

I talked with another former debater — back from New York — who is starting up a window washing business this summer in Denver. We had a fun conversation about entrepreneurship and making some “good money” serving others. He is also volunteering for some significant pro-life causes in Mississippi, a cause he is most passionate (and correct) about. He was a semi-finalist at nationals a few years ago, and is making progress in some significant issues.

Before the party I received a phone call from a mom whose children attended our debate camps over the years. Back in the day, her kids got into hot water with me and another coach when they tried to run some faulty evidence. It was a tough lesson at the time that turned out fine in the end, but she shared with me how important that lesson was. Her team is now graduated, but the very plan they were running is now being analyzed by congressmen and her kids are an active part of its lobbying. They know firsthand how important it is to have ethical evidence to back their claims up, and it is helping the greater cause.

I could go on and on with examples of how these debaters are turning out. This was just from yesterday! These examples are of kids I had the privilege of being involved in their high school lives. Camps, tournaments, classes, coaching. They did well in competition and took home trophies that are now collecting dust in their attics. I was so proud of them back then.

Today, my pride is almost too much.

The six students who graduated are on top of the world. But they’re really on the edge of their flight. Can’t wait to see them a few years from now. And in a few decades, the world will be a better place because of them.