What the heck is with me and graduations and head tables? This weekend I was thrilled to attend the graduation of my dear friend Veronica from the Information Services computer class she has been taken for the last 2 years. Veronica is the director of Manos de Amor – a fireplug if there ever was one. She invited her children and her sister and some Manos children and a few friends to the ceremony and dinner, and Grant and I were excited to be included.
Like every Mexican event we have ever been invited to, it started about an hour late. We arrived at 2:00 sharp and the only other people in the whole room were our friends Francisco, Anita and Manuela. Not another graduate. Not a staff member from the school. 5 of us alone in the room. At around 2:45 people started to trickle in and things were ready to start at around 3.
There were 4 chairs at the head table, and 3 people sitting there. One empty chair. About 5 minutes before the ceremony was to begin, Anita came to me and told me the organizers would like me to sit at the head table to help hand out certificates and to give a few words on behalf of Manos de Amor. WHAT??? Déjà vu flooded over me – was this a mistake again? (Remember this? We’re Padrinas mistaken for Celebrities) Because I don’t speak Spanish and these people are all Spanish and what on earth should I say and why do they want me to say it? I slightly panicked. They told me Anita would translate for me and then that was it. They were announcing my name and I was sitting at the head table.
I am still a bit confused. I think that Veronica is just really well respected amongst her peers as is her organization and they were genuinely pleased that we were there. So what did I say? I congratulated the graduates, told them I recognized how they had sacrificed in order to help their families and their communities and in fact all of Mexico to become stronger. I told how much Manos de Amor values education and that it was important that children who are watching them see that they value it too. I told them not to stop learning. And I promised that even though I am old, I can going to continue learning until I can speak Spanish.
And the really funny thing? All of the graduates had agreed to wear pink dresses to the ceremony and guess what color I was wearing? I fit right in as if it had all been planned.
So Felicidades Veronica – Mama Vero – we are proud of you and I was honored to be the one to hand you your certificate!
Now let’s have a party!!!