Jessica Ann Downey (18), Salutatorian of her class of 37 graduates
                                                                        with her 'summa cum laude' golden cords and honor stole draped about her
                                as she reaches out to receive her diploma
                                      after 12-years plus one pre-school year---
                                                                  all at The Hampton Christian School in Hampton, VA---
                                      on Friday evening, June 15th, 2007
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                                                                                                                              >    There were 37 graduates in all...and all were there, save one...who the day before had just shipped out to boot camp in the service of his country.  Fittingly, his name was read aloud at the very end, and then his diploma was presented in absentia to his Great Aunt, who rose from her seat in the first row to receive it.  Hugs were exchanged and as she turned to take her seat once again, she received a standing ovation on behalf of her great nephew and the commitment he had made.  She responded by waving his diploma aloft, and tears began streaming down her cheeks as she took her seat in front of me.  I shall never forget that moment, for I was honored to have been there on the occasion of my granddaughter's graduation on the evening of June 15th, 2007.                     ..........Bruce*********