I've posted time and time again about milestones...whether it is a milestone that I have personally reached, or one that I have watched one or more of our children reach.  Usually every first for Jakob is a first for Tim and I too, in the realm of experiencing our childrens' milestones.  May brought us to yet another. 

8th grade graduation. 

When I finished 8th grade, it was non-eventful...just like every other grade before it.  The celebration was that school was out for the summer, but completing the 8th grade was not recognized as anything but another year down.  I went to a small school that had K-6 in one building and 7-12 in another, so there honestly was nothing glamorous about the transition from 8th-9th grade.  In fact, when my family moved to another town part way through my freshman year, I was "demoted" to middle school in my new town.  Grades 7-9 were considered the middle school and 10-12 was the high school, and even then, there was no big acknowledgement upon completion of 9th grade and the bridge to high school.

St. Teresa's is different.  Not different from many other area schools, but different from the school I attended.  8th grade graduation is a big deal and celebrated as the milestone it is.  Initially I thought it was a bit silly to make such a big deal of something that is so normal, but in hind-sight, I'm pleased with all that was involved and took place. 
The boys at the beginning of 7th grade.

Jakob has been part of St. Teresa's school since preschool.  He has shared these years with many of the same kids for the last ten years, and it has been much fun to watch them grow up and grown in friendship.  It has been equally as fun to share their years with their parents and get to know them and forge our own friendships. They have been at the same school in the same building, and now they are moving on to a different building...environment. 
1st day of 1st grade

This class is special.  Of course, I have no other 8th grade class to compare them to, but the talk and general concensus was that this class was a wonderful one.  I must agree.  No trouble-makers to speak of.  Respectful, charitable and talented.  I was happy to be able to be part of many events during Jakob's last year at St. Teresa's. 
Class trip day.  Started at the park for breakfast after Mass and then on to Omaha for a day of fun at the Amazing Pizza Machine.

As the end of the year drew closer, many would ask me if I was "ready" for the big day.  I still really had no appreciation for the magnitude of any of it until I saw all of the kids in their caps and gowns.  Grown up.  Suddenly emotions welled up in side of me that I was not aware were there.  Where in the world has 13 years gone??
4 months old

 While they've been fast, I'm happy to say that I haven't missed out on them, but still, that silky gown and mortar board hat made me realize just how quickly the years have gone.  There before me was a young man, excited to close a chapter in his life and start a whole new one. 
Leading the Rosary

This kid who just nine months ago was not quite as tall as me, now stretches 2-3 inches above me.  Graduation was lovely. 

May crowning (I didn't capture this shot at graduation!)

Each student processed into the church for a special Mass with the 8th grade choir members singing beautifully, followed by the presentation of their diplomas, a message from one of the students, presentation of a rose to parents and a special dismissal from the principal.
Yes...we IS signed. 

The 8th grade choir members singing

  The celebration continued with a fabulous reception hosted by the 7th grade families.  Many graduates were given gifts from their families.  Jakob received a beautiful St. Therese holy water font that can go with him even when he leaves home as a reminder of his very special time at St. Teresa's, as well as a purity ring.  The ring was per his request, and we were more than happy to oblige.  I plan to write more about the ring another time. 

The four oldest kids in our small parenting group. 

Three of the CK Sisters that have taught Jakob over the years.

Jakob and four of his teachers.

Monsignor and Jakob

The 8th grade class went on a day-retreat to Holy Family Shrine, where time was spent in reflection and learning. One of the things he came home with was a compilation of descriptions of himself from his classmates.   Here is his list:
Congratulations Jakob.  You are an amazing young man.   We are excited for you to begin highschool.  Thanks for bringing us along in this journey of yours.  We are so proud of you.