Lily Graduates!

I feel like every time I get online to this blog, I am playing catch up. I have been so incredibly busy and I am even out of town right now, but I have some time to sit down and post some photos and stories to go along with them. I have a bunch of photos on my good camera waiting for me to process. Most of the photos I will put on here for now are shots with my phone. The good photos will just have to come later.

Lily graduated from Westside High School this past Sunday, May 21st. She had a lot of events running up to graduation. Before I get to that, I want to share some early photos of Lily and some of her very early artwork. Lily was dragged to all of her brothers’ sporting events and she was fine as long as she brought her art bag with her. She rarely saw a minute of their games or matches, she was coloring and drawing the whole time. Most of the photos of Lily are from kindergarten, but there is one of her and Joe when she was four and lived in Norway. She kept calling him “Joey” and he hated that. He would grab ahold of her overalls and press her up and against the wall telling her forcefully, “Don’t call me Joey!” as she laughed hysterically and kept saying “Joey!”.

She has come a long way from her early days with us. She is going to do great things, I have a feeling….she just needs to find her path in life. Aren’t we all like that? She started out her senior graduation event schedule by having her senior art show at the Regency Mall in Omaha (think boujee). We were so very proud of her. Here are a few photos of the night they honored the seniors at the senior art show.

The large painting of the girl in the mask is her best friend, Sam. They are both going to Kansas City Art Institute this fall and will be roommates. Lily took that large painting and gave it to Sam’s mom on their graduation day.

We then moved on to the scholarship and honors night. Lily was invited to attend because she has a scholarship to KCAI. She was also on the honor roll for the fall of her senior year. She was NOT however, in National Honor Society. She was pretty impressed that someone at the school thought she was smart enough to give her that honor on her slide show on stage!

They have a wonderful tradition here in Nebraska where all the graduates go back to their elementary schools and march through the school and getting cheered on by the elementary school kids. The boys never got to do this because they did not go to elementary school in this area. Lily made up for them and went to two elementary schools. She went to Fairview Elementary School in Bellevue, Nebraska from Kindergarten through fourth grade. She called the school and asked if she could come down for the graduation parade. They said, “Of course!” We had to hightail it down there (about 25 minute drive) from her high school (where she had just picked up her cap and gown) to Fairview Elementary. She hadn’t seen her classmates in 8 years. They were all so very happy to see her! So many smiles and hugs…it was so nice to see her so happy. There were lots of photos and selfies and the principal and teachers just let the graduates who lingered walk around the school and visit teachers. I used to volunteer at Fairview in the library. The librarian, Mrs. Gibson, is a student favorite, so they all came in to show her their love, which made her tear up a bit. She is a pretty special teacher and I have kept in contact with her over the years as well. A group of them decided to make a snapchat group so they could talk and keep in touch. In fact, Lily drove down to Bellevue the next morning to have brunch with a few of her former classmates. They are such a great group of kids…and I know their parents….so I was happy they reconnected. Here are some photos from the Fairview graduation celebration:

The next elementary school graduation visit was in our current neighborhood at Oakdale Elementary School. Lily went to 5th grade in that building (which was very old). For her 6th grade year, she attended Oakdale Elementary School but it was displaced to a different building a mile or two away while they demolished the old building and rebuilt it. So she went to school with those same kids for two years, but was only in the building for one of those years. It was funny watching all her graduating classmates come to their “old” school to find a new building that they couldn’t even find the front door! Evidently in years past, there have only been three or four graduating seniors that come to do this elementary school walk through. This year, almost all of them came. The principal and teachers were so surprised! They did things a little differently here. They met with the 6th grade class for 45 minutes and got asked questions about middle school and high school. I found it very interesting to hear their answers. Most were really well thought out and oddly mature. They recommended that these 6th graders put down their phones and actually talk to people. They recommended that you do your homework and do it early. They told them to ask for help from their teachers when they didn’t understand a concept. It was oddly refreshing. Anyhow, I think they were only missing about 5 graduating students from their group. After the meeting with the 6th graders, they paraded around the school, getting and giving high fives to all the students. It was funny to watch because the principal had to lead the graduates around because they had never been in the new building before and had no idea where anything was. This man became their principal the year they were in the swing school and the new building was being built.

Meanwhile, we had family coming in from all over the country to help Lily celebrate. Her Auntie Tammie, Nana, and Nano came from Florida. Her Uncle Craig, Aunt Mayra, cousins Alex and Emily Jo, and Grandma came from Texas. Her Aunt Pam, Uncle Brian, and cousins Kara, Alyssa, and Micah came from Indiana. Her sister-in-law, Michelle, drove up from Missouri. Her brother, Tim, flew in from California. It was so nice to have so many family members come together to celebrate Lily. She had a rough go of her high school career. In the first semester of her freshman year, I was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I didn’t know that I would be around to even see her graduate. The second semester of her freshman year dealt with me being incredibly sick on chemo and then COVID creating a global pandemic. That affected her sophomore year as well. Her junior year, her oldest brother, Joe, died suddenly in a car accident. Honestly, I prayed very hard for a boring senior year for her. High school just wasn’t the best experience for her and I am so happy she has put that in her rear view mirror and will be moving on to bigger and better things. We probably had around 45 people at her graduation party at our house after the ceremony. The ceremony took place at the Baxter arena on Sunday afternoon and considering she graduated with the largest student body of all of our kids, they kept it moving and we were out of there in 90 minutes. I took most of the graduation ceremony photos and family photos with my good camera, so those will be forthcoming. We had all the cousins from my side of the family together, which doesn’t happen often, as we all live in different states and as our kids are growing up, they, too, are moving away and busy “adulting”. There weren’t any Messina cousins here, but we hope to connect with them in July. We were so thankful to friends and family who came together to help us honor Lily on her special day.

3 thoughts on “Lily Graduates!

  1. Wow, her artwork is amazing, and she is so generous with it! Kara is starting to make me wonder if she might be talented in that way too. I canโ€™t remember if my kids did what she is doing at four or not. I love the Joey story and the going back to the elementary schools tradition! Itโ€™s wonderful she reconnected with all those who ended up at different high schools and Gibby too-sheโ€™s the best! Big Congratulations! I know her future is bright!โค๏ธ๐ŸŽ“๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘


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