As graduation day approached, all my friends and family members assumed I would use my column space to write some poignant memoir about Ronnie, my 2012 graduate.
Yes, Ronnie is a wonderful child. He had a rocky start in life, but he graduated with honors, was president of the Warner Robins High School FFA chapter and is an Eagle Scout.
But as I sat in front of my computer and waited for the inspiring and emotional words to come about my child graduating high school, my thought drifted.
Not to Ronnie. But to all the people who helped him achieve all that he has and all that he will.
One of the things we brag about in Houston County is our school system. While our students have a range from 0-100 when they are graded, schools and school systems seem to only have one of two designations: good or bad.
Here in Houston County, we have good schools.
Sometimes I think we use the wrong end of the stick to measure. We brag about SAT scores, AP classes and honors trips. We talk about graduation rates, standardized tests and state championships in everything from one-act plays to football.
Those things are important and are great indicators of our school system. But here is the one thing that I think we overlook. When people talk about No Child Left Behind, here in Houston County they mean it.
Fourteen years ago I sat in a doctors office in one of the finest hospitals in the country where my husband and I were told point blank that our childs developmental delays were so severe he would never be able to catch up with his peers.
Dont waste your time saving money for college, we were told bluntly. He will never be able to go.
About a week after that, I sat in another room, this time a special education pre-k class where Ronnies teacher -- unaware of the doctors report -- told me that her goal was for Ronnie to attend regular education kindergarten.
That doctor probably never thought of us again after we left her office. That teacher worked with Ronnie every day and prayed for him every night.
That teacher was the first in a long line of employees at Houston County schools who helped change my childs life.
At first I thought of making a list but then realized that after all these years, I was bound to leave a name off. So if you ever taught my Ronnie, served his lunch, picked up his trash or drove his bus, thank you. If you did his paperwork at the board office, served as an administrator at one of his schools, or were his speech therapist, then thank you.
When Ronnie crossed that stage, he carried a little bit of you with him. His triumph is your triumph as well.
Contact Alline Kent at firstname.lastname@example.org.