Monday, June 6, 2011

Joanna's Graduation in Pictures

Dear friends,

My daughter Joanna graduated from high school on Saturday.  It actually doesn't seem like she was a high school student to me, since she started dual enrollment in a local college in the fall of 2009 and just got back from a three month mission trip to Italy five weeks ago!

The Regent Academy, the home school enrollment program of Metro Life Church, had 18 graduates this year.   It was our fourth TRA graduation. 

The festivities started out with a masquerade themed banquet on Friday evening.  Each grad gave a little speech about their parents, and some, like Joanna, gave tribute to grandparents and/or siblings, too.  Very sweet!

The families each signed up for tasks.  Mine was the 24 page commencement ceremony bulletin, since I had done that the year Julia graduated.  It was quite time consuming compiling biographical information from all of the graduates and laying it out.  We decided on a "vintage typewriter" theme.  Not to mention that I stapled and folded nearly all 200 of them by myself!

Here is what Joanna's page said - and I hope you can see the funky old typewriter font! 

"Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends." 1 Corinthians 13:7, 8a

 Random Fact:  Joanna was yanked into a Congo line at Carnavale in Italy while wearing four-inch stilettos and dressed as a mime, complete with all-out white face paint. 

 Accomplishments:   Joanna excelled in her high school courses and earned a Bright Futures Scholarship. She attended Valencia Community College for three semesters (top of the class in Composition II), sold out at the VCC Art Sale, and had her photography published in the 2010 Phoenix Edition after being awarded 3rd place in the FCCPAM Competition. She went on mission trips to Niceville, FL and the Dominican Republic, was part of a ministry to Japanese exchange students, and volunteered with Orlando Children's Church. Most recently, she worked as a Project Photographer to save up for her move to Italy from February-May 2011, where she taught ESL in the town of Chiavari, made many friends, traveled, and started learning Italian.

 Aspirations:   Joanna will work as a Disney photographer (she starts on Tuesday!) while finishing her A.A. Degree and then plans to either go to UCF to pursue a B.A. in Visual Arts (with a Minor in Linguistics) or to go to Daytona State to earn an A.S. in Photographic Technology. Long-term, she would like to have a family, become fluent in Italian, and continue in missions and the arts.

 Note to Parents:  Dad, thank you for challenging me to be my best and for living out being faithful in little as well as in much. Mom, thank you for raising me to value compassion, truth, and literature. You both have not simply stayed by me, but you have guided me with your sacrificial prayer and love. Cliché words, but they are true and are backed up by countless, specific memories. I pretty much love you. Keep the life advice coming… I'm only partially around the block. xo, Jo. (P.S. HI GRANDPA AND GRANDMA!!)

Each of the graduates also set up a display table with a photo board about themselves.  Joanna's had a lot of pictures from her trip to Italy. (You can see more at

My parents (pictured here with my oldest daughter Mary) flew down from Maryland on Friday afternoon.

Our MC, Jordan Bellamy, is a young man who is well known to most of the graduates.  He did an awesome job, especially with his wacky sense of humor.  His concluding prayer for the graduates was very sweet, too.

Our commencement speaker John Stemberger,  president of the Florida Family Policy Council, counseled the students to learn to stand alone and speak truth to power.   Many of the graduates already knew him since he is a member of Metro Life.  He is also internationally known as the attorney who represented Rifqa Bary, the teenager who fled from her Muslim family when she converted to Christianity.  John and his wife, who home school their  children, have been friends of our family for many years.

The graduates were all seated on the stage.  When each one's name was called, the parents would join them up there while the MC read a few facts about the grad, then a slide show played with audio of the parents talking about their child.  After that, the dad handed the diploma (a mock copy) to his child and the mom moved the tassle.  A hug or two, pose for a picture, then on to the next student!

Congratulations, Joanna!

Four Knowles grads down, six to go!  

Virginia Knowles

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