Saturday, May 26, 2007

Graduation Day

ORN: 6.75 miles, 7x800m intervals, average 4:05

Our youngest son Matt graduated from High School this afternoon. It’s a little hard to fathom that we now have three kids through HS and will have the proverbial empty nest come August. But true it is.

Matt is an amazing kid, quite different from our other two. They are 11 and 8 years older than Matt, so we’ve had kind of a “second parenting” trip with him. He’s an excellent student, exhibited an interest in a lot of leadership activities and really enjoyed performing in chorus and school musicals, even joining several other seniors for two musical numbers during the ceremony today.

His plans are set now. He will attend
Wheaton College this fall. It’s a college of about 2,500 in Chicago suburb of Wheaton. It was his first choice, as the small college closeness situated in a big city had appeal to Matt. Being three hours from home also seemed about right; not too close, not too far. He’s going to major in international relations. I think the tone of the campus will fit Matt’s depth as well.

His other dream is to be an Army officer and so he applied for and won a four-year ROTC scholarship at Wheaton. This is kind of mind-stretching for us as well. Our oldest son, David, is currently in the Army, serving with the 2nd Infantry in Baghdad. He’ll be out of the Army in early 2008. And now we have our youngest at the start of an Army commitment. I’m intensely proud of both of these guys for wanting to serve. That service comes with a cost though; we feel it daily. Yet we need bright people of character to lead in the Army. So, here’s another one, freely volunteering for the task. It is interesting to find sweaty running gear in Matt’s shower now that finals are over as he prepares for the rigor of Army physical training he’ll get in August.

So, a number of our family members gathered this evening for a meal to honor Matt. Seated, from the left, are my nephew Brian and his wife Susan, Gretchen’s parents, David’s wife Susan, and Gretchen and me. Perched in the back are twin grandson Andrew, Brian’s son John, Matt, holding granddaughter Berneice, Brian’s son TJ, and twin grandson Nathan. Each person in the photo very special to us. Four generations, holding together.

Life is a journey, an amazing one at that. And in all of it, we run with perseverance the race set before us. Thanks for listening.


Jenny, Maniac #401 said...

Congratulations! You are a beaming proud dad. Your son sounds great. I have known several people who attended Wheaton. It sounds like a very special place. Your son will be blessed with great opportunity. He will serve us well.

WADDLER26.2 said...

What a winderful family. How proud you must be of your sons!

Wes said...

Just from the pic, I would say Matt is a chip off the old block. What an honor it is to have two sons serving our country. We wish them the best and pray for them as they follow their own chosen path in life. Good luck, Matt!!

Sarah said...

You have a lot to be proud of, Joe! : )

David said...

Good looking crowd of kin. Congratulations on Matt's graduation and future plans. All seems right in the Ely house.

Backofpack said...

A milestone for Matt, and for you and Gretchen. Congratulations! And thank-you to both your sons for volunteering to serve.

Darrell said...

Congratulations to Matt. Life as you know it will be changing yet again.

A huge thanks to both he and David for serving this country selflessly.

robtherunner said...

Congratulations to your son on his graduation and his choice to go to college and serve his country. You should be proud parents.

Will said...

Wow! You are right to be proud of your boys!