My daughter graduated from high school tonight

June 5, 2020

T is finished with high school. Well, not quite. She has one teacher who’s taking advantage of the bizarre pandemic-created schedule that has schoolwork continuing through June 9. So my daughter has a few more days of schoolwork even though she graduated today, June 5.

No, she’s not shown on the photo above — that’s the Hanford HS Choir singing the national anthem near the beginning of the festivities. T doesn’t like her name or photo being posted online, and we’ve always agreed with and respected her wish for privacy. But that photo above shows you what graduation was like. All virtual/remote, and we watched it on TV in our living room.

Sure, it was weird in a few ways … like our graduate not needing to wear her cap and gown during the ceremony, for starters. But TBH, we were all impressed at how well the whole ceremony went down. It was well thought out and there were no glitches at all. And it was pretty cool to see General Jim Mattis involved (he lives here), along with Foo Fighters’ bassist Nate Mendel (he’s an alumnus).

But enough of all that. In this house, the day was all about T. She graduated with honors, and you bet I was proud to see “Honor Student” on the screen when her name was called during the listing of the grads. But the thing is, as proud as I am that she graduated with honors, I’m even more proud of how she did it:

She worked her ass off until the very end, even though she didn’t have to.

Her grades have always been good. Never once in her elementary or high school life have we had to worry about that. So as the second half of this year began, she surely could’ve coasted along and still passed easily.

But she didn’t.

When the pandemic hit and schoolwork moved online, it was pretty difficult at first because no one knew what they were doing — especially the school and teachers. She was frustrated in the beginning, and she could’ve shut down and said “screw this.”

But she didn’t.

At some point, online learning was such a struggle that the schools announced that students’ grades would not be allowed to dip below what they were on March 17 — the date that home schooling began. My understanding is that if you were passing then, you’d pass the class as long as you finished the attendance and coursework requirements. She could’ve gone into autodrive and been satisfied with her March 17 grades.

But she didn’t and wasn’t. In fact, she worked hard enough to raise her grades before graduation.

If ever a student had an excuse to get a serious case of senioritis, it was T and it was these last two months of her senior year. She’d already committed to a college for the fall, so it’s not like she really needed to impress anyone at the next level. Graduation was pretty much a guarantee under any circumstances. But she kept working. And working. And improving her grades. And improving herself.

T … I can’t begin to put into words how proud I am of you for that. I’m so proud to be your dad.

Now go kick ass at college, and kick ass again in whatever career path you take. And don’t ever quit. Hard work will always win. Always.


  • Reply eric June 6, 2020 at 11:42 am

    Congratulations to your daughter! Great to hear she did better after the covid-19 misery. Studying on your own is something you need to pass the next level. Our daughter (16) also works harder at home. Our son (19) too. More than three months and still 3 weeks to go here in Belgium.

    • Reply Matt McGee June 6, 2020 at 12:44 pm

      Thx so much, Eric! Best of luck to both of your kids — great to hear they’re sticking with the work even from home. Hope you and your family are all doing well.

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