From my journal dated June 1, 2002:

Jenna’s high school graduation was today. I wanted it to be so nice for her.

Last night was the rehearsal and pot luck dinner for the graduates and their families. It wasn’t fun to be there…it was yucky and awkward. Joe and I sat mostly with Brian and Marie [Alina’s parents]. At least they don’t treat us weird. Everyone else is awkward around us…ignores us.

Before we left for the graduation ceremony today, I went in Jenna’s room to check on her. She was just sitting on her bed, looking at the picture of Jason and her from last year’s formal. It’s so hard to do things and know he’s not here to celebrate with us.

There were two white roses on the stage – one for Jason and one for Alina – and a note in the program that they were to honor them. It was a nice gesture.

After graduation, all the graduating class left for Grad Night Out. I hope Jenna has a good time. I hope the other graduates are nice to her.

The Formal – I hope you dance

From my journal dated May 25, 2002:

Jenna and Joe

Jenna’s high school formal was last night, her last as a senior. We bought a beautiful pink dress when we were in Oklahoma. She made an appointment to get her hair done today, and it turned out so beautifully. She looked like an absolute princess!

She had petitioned the homeschool board to bring an outside date. She was so concerned that no one would talk to her again…like the way they ignored her the night of the graduation meeting. After some debate, the board agreed, and she asked Jason’s good friend, Justin, to go with her. It’s a good thing she brought Justin, because it was more-or-less like she thought…not many of her classmates even talked to her once she got there and only one other guy besides Justin asked her to dance. It sounded like she had a good time, though.

I’m so proud of her. I know it wasn’t an easy thing to do. She realized that this was an event that was an important one in her high school experience – one that had the potential to be awkward and uncomfortable; one that could be disastrous for her. She took steps to do whatever she could to do make it a positive experience for herself. She took the initiative to petition the board for a waiver of their rule so she could bring an outside date, and clearly articulated her concerns from her perspective even though there was initial opposition. She asked Kari [Alina’s sister] and Elizabeth to come over and get ready with her, to go get their hair done together.  Such a mature way to respond…way beyond her 17 years.

Graduation preparations

From my journal dated April 9, 2002:

Tonight was a planning meeting for Jenna’s graduating class…planning the graduation ceremony, Grad Night Out. I went to the parent meeting, and Jenna went to the student meeting.

I had to look all over for Jenna afterward. She had gone upstairs…didn’t sit in on the student meeting at all. When she walked in the room, absolutely no one said anything to her. Nothing. No hello. No small talk. No hugs. No nothing. Not even the normally really friendly kids. It was like she wasn’t even there. Invisible.

It was so hard for her just to go to the meeting…and then no one even talked to her. She was so upset and hurt. Can’t say as I blame her. Wow! She is so alone…only 17, and so alone. It’s such a tough, tough place to be.