Tag Archives: graduation

Great graduation

Philomathean Society Graduation Diploma For Is...

Philomathean Society Graduation Diploma For Isaac Norton Jr., 1858. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

M graduated from Grade 6 last week. In September, he’ll start Grade 7 at a new school.

If you’d asked me 3 or 4 years ago, if he would finish elementary school in the public system, I probably would have been skeptical. M was in 3 different schools in Grade 1 alone. I couldn’t tell you how many times he was suspended in both Grade 3 and 4 – usually  for 2-3 days at a time and almost always for hitting/punching/kicking another child. I remember one particularly brutal period, when the suspension ran into PD days and holidays and he was out of school for nearly 10 days. On more than one occasion, my mother came to town to look after M when he wasn’t at school. I got so many calls from the school, that every time my office phone rang, I could feel my blood pressure shooting up.  To this day, I always feel a frisson of anxiety if my phone rings between 9 am (when I usually get to work) and 2:30 pm (when school lets out). Talk about Pavlov’s dog.

During this period, M’s dad and I were summoned to meeting after meeting with school and Board officials. While most of the professionals we encountered had good intentions, we left these meetings in a state of despair,  feeling like our child was the spawn of the devil and we were the worst parents ever.  One time we walked into the meeting room to discover 10 officials, including a police officer. His contribution to the meeting was to tell me that M could be charged with assault when he was 12.  I wasn’t at all anxious when I left that meeting.

The most frustrating thing was that every time M got suspended, he’d go back to school and nothing would have changed.  The principal identified early on that recess and transition periods were very challenging for M, but she didn’t have the resources to give him one-on-one  supervision. So M would trundle back to school after every suspension, increasingly anxious and isolated and be thrown right back into the same situations that got him into trouble the first, second and third time. The poor kid was like a hamster, going around a very dysfunctional wheel.

Finally, in Grade 5, the school was able to put in place a number of supports for M on a more-or-less permanent basis. He had an educational assistant with him almost full-time; he got scheduled breaks from class; and eventually, a computer to do his written work. The number of suspensions dropped dramatically and M started to participate in class. In previous  grades, he’d rarely completed his class assignments (unless it was math, his favourite subject), he refused less and did more.

Fast forward to the last couple of weeks of Grade 6. At the year-end Open House, M had work posted on the bulletin boards outside the class. He had lots of work to show his dad and I. Even more impressive, he was clearly present in the video his teacher put together to show case the class’s activities. Last year, he helped his teacher announce the “Recycled Fashion Show.” This year, he not only designed and sewed an outfit, he got up on stage and showed it off.

On the morning of the Grade 6 graduation, the school auditorium was filled with proud parents and extended family and friends. We were fortunate that a very dear family friend was visiting us and was able to attend the event. In keeping with the non-competitive environment of M’s school, all the Grade 6 students gave a short speech that they had prepared and written out in advance. Since M is still not a big fan of writing, his speech was  short – “I’d like to thank my parents and Ms E for always having my back.”

Brevity aside, it was a very sweet moment. He’s gone through a lot in the last few years and come out on the other side. I couldn’t be prouder of him.


Randon acts of craftiness – graduation cards


My lovely and talented nieces are both celebrating big milestones this month. One is graduating from high school and the other, from middle school. I don’t see them very often, but I treasure the times we do spend together.

It seemed appropriate to make a graduation card for each niece. In search of some inspiration, I checked out a few websites and Pinterest.  Apparently, the big theme in graduation cards is owls, often wearing a little square hat (graduating = wise?!). Not to my taste and expect neither recipient would be terribly impressed.

After some hunting, I found a card I really liked 0n Scrapbooksetc, but I don’t have a butterfly punch and I wasn’t going to buy one to make one card. I liked the look of the stitching on the card and decided to do something similar, using materials I had on hand. What really caught my eye was the stitching on the front of the card.

Taking Flight Grad Card

 In the end, I went with stars, which are also a popular theme for graduation cards (makes more sense to me than owls). I decided on the text “reach for the stars” and played around with fonts on my computer until I found one I liked. Once I’d run a couple of tests and decided on the font size and colour, I positioned the text approximately where I wanted it and ran a piece of 8 x 8 white card through my printer (tip: if you’re printer’s like mine and has trouble with odd-sized paper, washi tape works to attach the card stock to a piece of  printer paper, plus it comes off easily).

June 3, 2013 109-002

Once I had the text printed, I cut the paper into a medium-sized square.  Following the example of the butterfly card, I  Then I threaded my sewing machine with bright pink thread and stitched 5  lines coming out from the text.  I went over each line twice so they would stand out and pulled the threads through to the wrong side and tied them off.

June 3, 2013 116-001

June 3, 2013 117-001

If you are a sewer, this would be a snap, If you’re like me and so-so with a sewing machine, I recommend first practicing on a scrap piece of paper.  After a trial run, I was able to sew my lines free-hand. It wasn’t difficult and I like the effect.

I had already selected a bright pink card stock as the background (hence the pink thread on white paper). I found a coordinating paper in my stash and cut out a square that covered about 2/3’s of the front of the card and trimmed the stitched square to fit.

June 3, 2013 126-001

Due to a lack of mastery of my new paper cutter, my edges didn’t come quite clean (the knots on the back probably made the paper a little thicker), so I just tore the excess paper off on all four sides and went for a slightly rustic look.

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I rounded the corners and added small self-sticky stars at the top of each stitched line.

June 3, 2013 124-001

Since a couple of my lines weren’t totally straight, I added a couple of extra stars to cover up the imperfections. I also ran the front of the card stock through my Big Shot with an embossing folder to pick up the dot theme (no such thing as too many to dots, plus any excuse to use my Big Shot).

June 3, 2013 127-001

I attached the squares on top of each other to the front of the card. Using self- adhesive numbers, I made a little tag that says “2013” and afixed it to the bottom third of the card. The final touch was adding few tiny sequins after the date.

June 3, 2013 128-001

While I had a clear design in mind for my eldest niece’s card, I had no clear plan for her sister’s. I decided the card itself would be turquoise. Following the example of one of the cards I’d seen, I printed “congradulations,” onto a plain card stock in a complementary colour. I accidentally trimmed one edge quite close to the bottom of the letters, but it looked fine, so I did the same along the other side. I’d rejected the paper with chevrons on it for the other card, but it added some punch to this one. Making a quasi-pennant was another happy accident. I was going to place it across the width of the card, but I liked it better length-wise.I cut a notch  at the bottom to add some visual interest.

June 3, 2013 135-001

I had just bought a pack of cardboard flowers on sale at Micheals. I added a stick-on rhinestone to each flower and scattered them around the front of the card. I ended up adding a few silver stars as well and added a bit of bling to the centre of each one. Of course, I had to decorate the inside of the card.

June 3, 2013 133-001

Two cute cards and nary an owl in sight.

June 3, 2013 130-001

June 3, 2013 132-001



Links include: Think Pink Sundays at Flamingo Toes ; Monday Link Party at Craft-O-Maniac; Motivate Me Monday at Keeping It Simple; Making Monday Marvelous at C.R.A.F.T. ; Made by You Mondays at Skip to My Lou ; Market Yourself Monday at Sumo’s Sweet Stuff; Get Your Craft on Tuesday at Today’s Creative Blog; Tuesday To Do Part at The Blackberry Vine: Take-a-Look Tuesdays at Sugar Bee Crafts; Wednesday Wowzers at oopsy daisy; Flaunt It Fridays at Dotted Line Crafts; The Cure for the Common Monday at Lines Across My FaceSix Sisters Stuff – Strut Your Stuff Saturday