Graduation Day

I’m taking today as a vacation day because of a very special thing happening this evening: my daughter is graduating from Van Nuys High School. I’ve seen this little girl grow and blossom into a delightful young woman. She’s still a little girl in some ways (and she’ll always be my little girl), and she’s still a typical teenager, but more and more she’s showing maturity and drive that will do her well.

Today is the culmination of 13 years of hard work within the public school system of LA Unified. Starting from kindergarten days at Lassen Elementary, through Vintage MST Magnet, Nobel Middle School, and now Van Nuys High School, she’s achieved. Some years were harder than others (3rd grade was particularly bad), and some courses were harder than others. There have been ups and downs, but she had demonstrated that she enjoys hard work, much as she complains about it. She has also demonstrated a strong loyalty and love for her friends.

I thank the teachers that have been positive influences over the years. As much as LA Unified gets maligned, there are some wonderful teachers and staff members out there. I thank the friends that have been here for her–both her friends and our friends. I especially thank the two women who are not here to see her graduate but influenced her life immensely: Lauren Uroff and Karen Denise Pratt Holmes. We know you are watching this evening, just as we know her grandfathers are watching and smiling.

When I graduated from high school back in 1977, my father wrote in my yearbook the following quote from his mother: “Not failure, but low aim is crime.” Erin has always aimed high and worked hard. Not everything worked out the way she wanted, but the universe has ways of compensating and moving her to the right places. We saw this as her focus shifted from technical lighting to a love of history and the effort that was Academic Decathalon. We’re seeing it as she goes off to college: for all her plans to go to a private college (notably Reed or Wash U St. Louis), she’s ending up at UC Berkeley… which is possibly the best choice for her in terms of the student diversity (which she loves), academic diversity (which she eats up), and the complete unique funkiness that is the city of Berkeley.

This summer we’ll pack her up and she’ll move to Northern California, where I’m sure she’ll be welcomed by our friends in the area, and more importantly, will make tons and tons of new friends in what I’m sure will be another life-changing experience. I have confidence that she’ll exceed beyond our wildest dreams.

Music: Rooms: A Rock Romance (2009 Original Off-Broadway Cast): My Choice