Jasmine and Tomika graduated from 8th grade! I got a text from Jasmine on June 8th – 2 day i found out that i am graduating i am so HAPPY THANKS 2 THE PEOPLE THAT BELIEVE IN ME. How far she’s come from the precocious and academically-struggling third grader I met through a volunteer program six years ago. I was so honored that she asked me to join in the celebration, especially since each student only got four tickets, and she has a very large family. I felt like a proud Mama, shopping for flowers and gift cards, running around taking pictures, meeting their teachers and friends. Jasmine led the Pledge of Allegiance, Tomika won a leadership award, and they both won academic and perfect attendance awards. Both surprised me with their tears as they said goodbye to friends and teachers. Their school is in Bridgeport, worlds away from their Englewood neighborhood so seeing elementary school pals will be difficult. Very glad their grandma made the decision to send them to a better school than the one down their street, but it was an adjustment, dealing with a school bus that often didn’t show up to pick them up, being two of a handful of black students in a predominantly Hispanic school, having to make new friends at the middle-school age when kids can be so brutal to one another. But they did it and shined at it! High school graduation up next and then, I’m biased, graduation from Boston College??!? I wonder if they still have their BC Superfan shirts I brainwashed them with six years ago.