Saturday, June 19, 2010


I work in a high school. Last night was Graduation. The graduates sit on the stage, in rows, girls on one side and boys on the other. When we interpret for Graduation, we need six people, always- two in front, for the audience, and two on the girls' side, facing the graduates, and two on the boys' side, also facing the graduates. Last night, I was backstage, on the boys' side, with coworker P. One deaf boy who graduted, J, I have known since he was about five years old. I interpreted for him at church and Sunday School for many years. His dad does contracting work for us sometimes, too.

So, at practice yesterday morning, J told me, I thought, that he wanted "an interpreter" to stand near the principal when they were awarding diplomas- he wanted the interpreter to let him and the other boys know when their names were said, so they would know when to start walking. I told him, "Okay, when Mrs P and I get here tonight, we'll figure out who's doing what, and it'll be taken care of."

"No," J said. "I want you to do it. You interpreted church, my baptism, confirmation, everything all those years, I've known you since I was five, I want you to do it."

I was a bit taken aback. J typically is not what you'd call a sentimental kid. He's a nice kid, to be sure, but he has Some Issues that I won't go into here, and high school for him has, on more than one occasion, been a rough road. But I was very touched, and told him, "Okay, I'll do it."

And I did. And it went well, the whole ceremony...even though this class (hearing and deaf) is, overall, kind of rowdy, so much so that for the first time in my memory, the principal assigned staff members to sit backstage to keep an eye on them. I've grown fond of some of the hearing kids, too, as always happens, and made sure to wish them luck and all that as well.

I made sure that J's parents took a picture of me with him after Graduation was all done. They promised they'd email it to me. I'm going to miss that kid.

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