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Grad Banquet

Last night was the graduation banquet for the 2007 graduating class of Sahel Academy.

Amber, aka Coach, had done all the work of setting up the restaurant and organizing the menu. The juniors planned the program. And the dorm mom, Aunt Brenda, and I did the baking for the dessert, which was not included in the restaurant menu. I made a pineapple upside-down cake, an upside-down German chocolate cake, a white layer cake with chocolate frosting, and chocolate chip bars. The worst thing about all that baking was that the oven where we're staying is very small, so I could only bake one thing at a time. It also isn't very well-insulated and the whole apartment was HOT by the time I was finished!

The banquet was held at a Lebanese restaurant. It is in a clear plastic tent which sounds kind of weird, but it's cool because you can see out into the flower garden which is very beautiful. The school colors are yellow and black, with purple as an alternative for decorating. The restaurant had white tablecloths with gold cloths overlaid, so it was perfect for our colors. Miss Carriger and I decorated with graduation confetti, some little stand-up decorations and banners she had, and graduation napkins. I made cards with a photo of each graduate on it. These were passed around during the meal and people wrote notes to the grads in them. It didn't take much to do it, but it looked beautiful.

This is Daniel and his two dormies. Both of the other two young men are from South Korea. DK, the man on the left will be attending university in the USA. This will work well for him because he has done all his high school work in English. Our Daniel will be going to Cedarville University, as you know. David is going to be returning to South Korea for university. He is really scared about that. Even though he speaks Korean fluently, he has never had much experience in reading or writing in. Also, he does not know very many people there. For these graduates, they are not just changing schools when they go off to university, they are changing worlds. There will be a lot of adjustments. Anyway, I kind of consider these guys my three sons.

The juniors had made a really nice power point of pictures of the seniors. Then they had prophecies for the seniors. Daniel's was hilarious...all about how he would return to Tera as a missionary and be an archeologist work on a doctorate in American history on the side. There would be a DeValve Cup (soccer) in Tera named after him, but unlike his dad he would never be mistaken for Zidane. He and his wife would make their children dig zai holes for punishment. They gave him a little spade as a gift. Here we are enjoying the hilarity of the moment.

Then the parents had a chance to speak of and to their graduate. It was great to hear how much each parent loves their child and thinks the world of them. David's parents couldn't come from Cote d'Ivoire, so they sent a letter in Korean to be read to him. DK's parents read it and then gave an English translation. David was so surprised he was crying. It was very touching.
Also as part of the program, John sang Find Your Wings, a beautiful song about giving our kids roots, but helping them fly.

Meanwhile Suzanne and her partners in crime, Joe and Russ, were putting the confetti in their mouths and spitting it at each other. Of course, I had nothing to do with such immature behavior. By the way, the juniors and seniors sat together and John, Suzanne, and I sat together.

It was a great evening. And the pineapple upside-down cake and Aunt Brenda's carrot cake were the most popular if you have to bake for an event, start with one of those!


Dusty Penguin said…
What a beautiful banquet! I really miss special occasions like that on the field. They seem so much more meaningful, I guess because so much thought and creativity and meaning is put into them. They are so much more personalized. Daniel's prophecies were great! Again, it shows how well the kids know each other. I remember the seniors did that at BEBS, but I don't think they do it at our school. Too many kids, I guess. I would have thought the choc river bars would have been the winner!! Must be you have a lot of people who prefer non-chocolate desserts. I wish I could have heard John sing the song. Did you get video or just snaps? That was really sweet about the parents sending the letter in Korean. It brought a tear to my eye and I don't even know him. It was very touching. Maybe you could post John's letter to Daniel, if it is not too personal. I guess since you read them aloud it could be shared. Suzanne is getting so tall! And you are sooooo thin. Wish I could trade with you some fat.
Dusty Penguin said…
P.S. I love your dress!
Beth said…
It was so fun to read your blog this morning and see pictures of the grad banquet! I've been thinking a lot about Sahel these last few days knowing that grad was coming up and just thinking about all those getting ready to graduate and move on from Sahel. It was wonderful to get to see what went on through your pictures! I really enjoy reading your blog and being reminded with words and pictures what life in Niger is like. By the way, I recognize that kitchen you were baking in and yes, it's hot!!! :)
Cindy said…
CONGRATULATIONS DANIEL.....and Mom and Dad too!
Enjoy tonight!
Praying for you all
James and Cindy
Katie said…
Nancy, Every things looks really really good. You did so well with the decorations, food,and the memories and the readings, etc.
The whole family looks so nice all dressed up :) trading the dusty daily clothes for the special occasion! Glad it went so well!
Carol Wilson said…
Thanks for the beautiful report on the graduation and also Suzanne's birthday. These kids are so lucky! Hope your "vacation" is going well.

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