My daughter Molly has been setting her own pace since she took her first steps (to her Great-Grandpa Fey in the visiting room of his nursing home).
A Thoreau-ly confident English major, she occasionally keeps pace with her companions, sometimes trails them and, every now and then, she zooms ahead.
She likes to step to the music she hears.
One fine autumn day several years ago, I positioned myself carefully along her cross country route and cheered as she ambled passed.
“C’mon Molly! You can do it!,” I yelled. “Go get that girl ahead of you!”
Molly turned and looked at me with a bemused expression on her face. “Why?” it said. Then she continued on her pleasant pace, enjoying the leaves, the sun, the race and the day.
Academically, she likes to move a little faster. I felt a little ripped off of her babyhood when she headed to kindergarten a few days before her fifth birthday. Encouraged by excellent teachers, she picked up her pace from there.
This weekend, at 20-years old, she graduated from the University of Wisconsin.
“How are you feeling?” I asked multiple times in the weeks heading up to the big event.
“I feel great,” she said every time.
“Any regrets about graduating early?”
“No, I’m excited.”
And, so we roll.
Molly has been blessed at every level of her public school education by gifted teachers, advisors and coaches. We’d like to thank them all. Seriously. Each one. There is no greater tribute to an educator than a student who loves to learn.
I’d like to give a special shout-out to Molly’s academic advisor Dr. Karen Redfield for her kind attention to all her charges and for her Friday emails that urged them to eat healthy food, get enough sleep and dress appropriately for the weather (She implored them to stop wearing ripped jeans during the bitter cold winter “You’ll get frostbite!”)
Congratulations Class of 2019 and On Wisconsin!