Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Reaping That Honor (Second-hand)

As we entered Dunn Hall it was abuzz with excitement and few seats were left. People were busily milling about, some dressed in shirts and ties or dresses, some dressed in the standard student attire of jeans and T-shirt. The stage was set with tables full of neat piles of certificates in vinyl binders or frames.

I found a seat and, looking up, recognized Renee Zehr a few seats over. Later I discovered she was also there to receive an award for essay writing (congrats, Renee!) "Just exactly what is this?" I asked. "The Honors ceremony for all the departments," was the quick reply. "Oh," came my intelligent response, "Jamie told us he was getting an award but wasn't sure what it was all about."

May I say that is typical of my phlegmatic/choleric son? His prof had asked him to attend a gathering because he wanted to give him an award. That's all he knew. "Jamie!" I had exclaimed. "Were you going to tell us?!" (It had slipped into the conversation rather unintentionally.) "Why? It's probably not a big deal," came his also typical response.

But now he was standing on the stage, looking good in his dress slacks and shirt and tie, one of three from the computer science department to be awarded today. The Dean's opening remarks had been full of great praise for all these students. "These are the students that inspire others. These are the students that cause those of us who teach and guide them to find joy in what we do." No, no big deal...

Afterward I was able to meet his professor. He was most generous in his comments regarding Jamie. In a moment or two Jamie excused himself to move on to his next class. Immediately upon his departure, the professor turned to me and beamingly informed me, "Jamie is a star in the department! I am so glad to have him and will encourage him to continue. He is a tremendous addition for us!" "Why, thank you. I'm glad to hear that. He certainly has enjoyed his semester's work there."

Yup. I was glad I went. After all, I celebrated his first step, his first word, his first infield hit, Friendship Clubhouse Awards, and a myriad of other accomplishments. So even if this had been a small one, I wouldn't have missed it. But it was more than small. In one semester he had become a star!