OK, finally, the pictures. I've slowed down, I remember what day is it, and Ashley got nearly $1,500 in scholarships so I'm happy. There's a happy/sad story with those scholarships, though. One of the scholarships she got was the Kristy Auw Couch Memorial Scholarship. It's awarded to the White Cloud student who most closely exemplifies Kristy's love of music and children. What makes it meaningful is that Kristy Auw lived right next door to us and used to babysit for Ashley when she was small. Kristy got out of school and got a job at the Kent County Sheriff's Department as a Dispatcher, got married and got pregnant. She was driving home on a Thankgiving weekend night and, being from White Cloud, stopped to help some kids stranded in a broken down vehicle. It turned out that the vehicle was out of gas, they had stolen it, two 15 year old boys and a 14 year old girl. They shot Kristy in the head and dumped her in the train yard in Grand Rapids, stole her car then headed for Chicago. The girl who was mostly along for the ride got scared and called the police from a motel room in Illinois. They found Kristy, near death. She was eventually put on life support in an effort to save the unborn baby. The baby did not survive and neither did Kristy. Her mother nearly went crazy, and I mean that literally, losing her oldest daughter and her first grandchild like that. Instead, she took the funeral donations and started a scholarship, personally picking the recipients every year. The original endowment is still intact, it's been invested and added to since then.
Ashley cried. So did I, and so did Laurel, Kristy's Mom. I'm sure, somehow, that Kristy is smiling though, at the little girl she used to babysit for. Ashley said that Kristy helped her swim, helped her ride her bike, helped her tie her shoes. It seems that she's still watching out for her, helping her though college.
OK, so are we all done sniffling? Remember, if you tell anyone I cried, I'll deny it. Ahem. A drum roll, please, and here is Ashley, getting ready for the big ceremony. Please note the National Honor Society emblem on the collar, she's inordinately proud of that:
Here she is afterward, with her diploma and her Grandmother (my Mom). She complained that the "hat" made her hair flat. Whatever...
Here she is singing at Baccalaureate. The place was darkened, for some reason, the pictures were "iffy". She's second from the right.
Finally, here she is, arranging the dozen pink roses we gave her (yeah, it's extravagant, $2.99 at the local grocery, LOL, but she's worth it):
Now, onward and upward!! Her Open House is June 17, then I can start preparing for her fall classes at the local University.