Earlier this week, I got a chance to watch live via Google Hangouts as my 4-year-old goddaughter graduated from her first year of Pre-K. Though I was slightly disappointed that I couldn’t be there personally to cheer her on, I was still extremely proud of her. Looking at her walk across the stage brought one of my oldest memories to the forefront. That brings me to this week’s moment in the Flashback Friday series: my Head Start graduation.
How I first came across this moment? I was first introduced to the moment when it happened live in May 1990…25 years ago yesterday. I had completed my 2 years in the JCCEO Head Start program. My parents, my late great-grandmother, and my aunt were in attendance. Judging from all the Polaroid photos and VHS footage, the process seemed pretty cut-and-dry. I walked in line with all of my fellow graduates. Somewhere in all of that, they called my name and I could hear my aunt clapping and saying “Yea AnJuan, way to go” on the VHS footage. And just like that, I graduated from Head Start and I was ready for kindergarten.
What it meant to me then? I was 5 years old in May 1990. The moment didn’t mean anything to me then. But it meant everything to my parents, especially my mother, because of what happened in November 1989, when I got my left foot ran over by a car. Just knowing that it could’ve been a lot worse than what it was made the moment worth more to them.
What it means to me now? Today, as I look at one of the oldest pictures I have of myself, I see the glow that I had as a youngster. Those were my innocent days, my exuberant days. From a personal perspective, that picture represents the start of a lifetime of learning that will include a 7th cap and gown ceremony around this time next year.