The last few months my facebook stream has been filled with proud parents posting about their kids honors, college acceptances and high school graduations.  My last few months have been filled with anxiety and worry if Cole will graduate.  Not that he isn’t bright, he is an amazingly bright young man! He does, however, lack time management skill, drive and Algebra II. Or did.  He managed, on the Friday before graduation, the very last in his class, to complete all requirements for graduation. HE DID IT!

Granted, the Algebra II wasn’t completely his fault. Back in early Spring of ’15 he’d broken his hand (Westberry’s Only; The Dark Hedges), a broken hand makes it very difficult to write.  We had a meeting with all his teachers, counselors, nurse, principal.  A plan was put into place. Sadly plans only work as well as following the plan works, and his Algebra II teacher did not follow the plan.  Cole failed Algebra II.

You can whine “not fair” or dust yourself off & try again.  Cole dusted himself off & tried again.  Unfortunately, he choose to take two math course simultaneously and physics. During football season. He passed everything with flying colors, but again failed Algebra II. And again sustained a football injury (The Last Football Game).  The aggravation and stress in our house was palpable. He finally dusted himself off half-heartedly, we all met with the principal, and he found another solution for Cole. The last solution. Online Algebra II.

Online Algebra II turned out to be a nightmare.  It was impossibly hard. Incredibly difficult to follow. Soren (a finance major back in college) helped from Texas. My sister Manon (a virtual teacher in chemistry and math) helped from California. Dave and I stared at the screen for hours. Online Algebra II was proving to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. Finally last week, the last week of school for senior’s, his favorite teacher was available (he is also the girl’s soccer coach).  Every day last week Mr. Coapstick and Cole poured over a unit of online Algebra II. Every day last week Cole finished one unit of Algebra II.  There were five units. He finished late on Thursday night with a B+!

My gratitude towards Mr. Coapstick knows no bounds.  Our boy graduated because of his patience, commitment and dedication to his students. Everyone should be so lucky as to have a Mr. Coapstick in their lives.

Cole graduated Stuttgart High School on Wednesday.  The first graduating class of the brand-new Stuttgart High School. The new school was built on a different base than the previous DOD (Department of Defense) High School Christian graduated from. Instead of continuing to be called Patch High School, it is now Stuttgart High School. And Cole is part of the first graduating class, albeit the very last one to qualify!  Oddly enough, our temporary son Sebastian, was the very first person to graduate Stuttgart High School in December. His dad retired, and his family moved back the states early this year. Sebastian came back, temporarily living with us, so he could be part of the ceremonies… and all the celebrations in the days before & after.

My parents & sister Annelore all made it out for Cole’s graduation.  It was their first DOD/military graduation and all were impressed not only by the pomp & circumstance (my sister cannot stop talking about the sword arch all the kids walked through onto the stage), but the incredible achievements and future goals of our graduates.  Stuttgart High School may not be a military school, but all the kids are, or were, part of a military family.  All have been taught respect for others, our flag, our country, their parents and teachers. I can honestly say I am beyond proud of all the young men and women that graduated this week. Go Panthers!


Cole and his squad, pre-graduation


Cole – ready to graduate


Our temporary son: Sebastian


It may be blurry. It may be off-center. But we are hugging & smiling TOGETHER!


Honor guard saluting the German & American flags


Hand over heart during the national anthem: the first graduating class of Stuttgart High School


Cole and principal Robinson. Receiving his diploma!


The infamous cap toss! THEY DID IT!


Cole and my beautiful sister Annelore


My little niece wrote Cole a Graduation Card… 1/3 in French, 1/3 in English, 1/3 in Dutch = 100% awwwwwwwww!


All those envelopes with money… and he likes the Magic the Gathering cards best LOL!


My son and my sister ♥


Cole and my parents ♥


We are family ♥ photo courtesy of temporary son: Sebastian