Friday, April 11, 2008


One of my first posts was about my daughter, Sara. I just re-read it and cried a little bit. Sara is a senior at The George Washington University and is going into the Peace Corps after she graduates.

When she left Maine for college in August of 2004, it was in my little VW Jetta with me nervously driving through some of the scariest roads in the northeast--talk about taking your life in your hands--she's lucky she even made it to college. That Jetta was really little and the trucks on those roads are really big and go really fast. The drive might have been frightening for us both, but her arrival in Washington, DC was like fitting a hand into a glove--it was just right. She stood on the corner of H and 22nd and held her arms open wide to the city and said, "I'm here!"

Sara loved the school and Washington instantly and her experience has been everything that a parent could hope for a child. She has always been a good thinker and talker, when she was little and my friends would come over to visit me, they would end up spending their time talking to Sara while I kept them all supplied with tea and cookies.

Anyway, a month or so ago, she told me that she was going to audition to be the student speaker at commencement. Commencement at GW is held on the national mall in front of the Capitol with a crowd of over 20,000. I was happy that she was trying and was impressed with the speech that she wrote, but really could a little girl from the mountains of Western Maine who is neither rich nor famous have a chance at such an honor?

The first hurdle was to compete within her college and then the winners from each college would compete. A couple of weeks ago she won for the College of Arts and Sciences. When I was with her last weekend we talked about it a little, but she was very low key--still waters run deep.

Today, she competed against the winners from the other colleges and graduate schools. She called me on her way back from the competition and said that she felt like she had done her best and she was just going to put it out of her mind. She wasn't able to put it out of her mind for long, because within a few hours she received a call saying "Congratulations, you are the student commencement speaker."

So on May 18, 2008 at 10:00 a.m. on the National Mall in the shadow of the Capitol and the Washington Monument, my little Sara is going to stand up and speak for her class. Her speech is incredible and so is she.


Ruth said...

Congratulations to your daughter. You should be proud of her. I am sure you are a big part of her successes by your example.

Mary said...

I am already crying here, Beth. I am so proud of her and you as her Mom and nurturer.

Your drive through Washington, D.C. isn't easy, I know. I lived near D.C. all my life and still drive with white knuckles. But it's worth it to see little Sara from Maine.

I know you will share her commencement with us.

Go, Sara~

rach :) said...

wowie wow wow! Way to go, Sara!!!!

Weather Boy said...

I enjoyed Sara as one of my soccer players, but enjoyed her intellect even more. Congratulations to her on her commencement honor, and even moreso on her Peace Corps commitment. The world needs more like her.

And please thank Molly for her extremely kind comments. I hardly feel worthy.

Beth said...

Thank you Ruth and Mary, it's nice to be able to share this with other thoughtful folks. Your words are kind.

Rach and Weather Boy, it takes a village--that's what we have going for us here, our kids have a lot of good people helping to shape them--that's what Rach posted about the other day and its true. So, thanks for your part in helping to shape my kids.

Ralph said...

Beth, a huge congrats to Sara--winning such a competition is no small thing.

And welcome to the Peace Corps family! I just discovered you in a comment on my friend Kat's blog, Keep the Coffee Coming, clicked on your profile, and now I'm reading your stuff, Very nice--you tell the kind of stories I like to read wnd will be checking in often.

You may know from Kat's blog that she and I were Peace Corps volunteers at the same time in Ghana, 1969-71. I then went on to have a full 27-year career at the Peace Corps until I retired on 2003. The Peace Corps remains a huge part of my life and I am so glad that we are welcoming one more extraordinary person, Sara, into the fold. It's a select fraternity.

TheElementary said...

Beth, I'm just thrilled to read the news. Of course you must be proud of her, it sounds like you've done a marvellous job.
"but really could a little girl from the mountains of Western Maine who is neither rich nor famous have a chance at such an honor?"
-That's why my husband came to America in the first place, for the fact that seemingly far fetched dreams are possible with hard work and dedication. Congratulations to all of you.

The Texican said...

Like mother, like daughter. Tell her we are very proud. Be sure to remind her to remember the little people when she makes it big. I bet she doesn't even have a picture of me on her refrigerator.

Beth said...

Thanks, Ralph, it's nice to meet you and good to know a source for Peace Corps questions.

The Elementary, this is the daughter who I think of many times when I read your writings. I think you two would like each other.

Texican, the genes will tell!

Marianne said...

This last paragraph brought tears to my eyes. "My little Sarah..." oh how we moms know that feeling. Congratulations to you and to sarah. I would love to read the speech once it is all said and done. Yound people like Sarah make me feel so much hope for our future. xoxo Marianne

RuthieJ said...

Gosh, Beth, that's so neat!! Way to go Sarah! Just goes to show you what being smart, working hard, and having a supportive family can do for "a little girl from the mountains of Western Maine!"

Beth said...

Marianne and RuthieJ, thank you so much for the sentiment. She has worked very hard and this feels like a reward for that--we don't always get rewards for working hard but sometimes it works out.

Nan - said...

What a great thing! Congratulations to her.