Sunday, June 14, 2009


HOPAC had its first graduating class of 7 students last year.

This year we had 18. And since many of the students in the class of '09 were "my" students, whom I taught in 5th and 6th grade, I happily volunteered to lead the committee to plan the graduation events.

Since last year HOPAC only had a very, very simple ceremony for the graduates, we were pretty much doing everything from scratch. So planning these events turned out to be a pretty big job! (Which I had expected, so that was okay). Two other teachers/friends joined the committee.

We decided we wanted to do a special dinner the night before the ceremony for the students and their families. Then the ceremony itself was held at school on Friday morning. So our tasks the last few weeks included: finding a hotel for the dinner, negotiating price/menu at a number of places, getting parents to send in pictures, making a slideshow, contacting former teachers and getting them to write wishes for the students, finding a decorator for the ceremony, finding a caterer for the ceremony, borrowing caps/gowns from another school, getting sashes made, making up programs and certificates and awards, supervising the decorating...and in the midst of this, trying to keep students/parents/school administration happy since everyone had an opinion on how we should do things!

It was crazy. But everything turned out even better than expected, for which I praise God. The following pictures are from the dinner we held on Thursday night.

The girls looked absolutely beautiful. And SO grown-up! Aishi, Lotta, and Dorothy were my students in 5th and 6th grade and are now my good friends. All three of these girls also spent their entire lives, from kindergarten on, at HOPAC. I couldn't be more proud of the people they have become.

We did a ton of negotiating with this hotel and were extremely pleased with the result!

100 people came! I love the diversity in situations like this. Sitting next to us at dinner was a Finnish family and a Korean family. Since the Korean dad didn't speak English (or Finnish!), the Korean dad and the Finnish dad communicated in Swahili! Fabulous.

This gave me a great laugh. The banquet manager had asked me what I wanted on the cake, and I told her, "Congratulations Grade 12." This is what they came up with.

HOPAC Class of 2009. Tomorrow would be the big day!
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