David went through his graduation from sexto grade this past Friday. This is a big deal in Peru, and the move from primary to secondary education is celebrated. It may be because many students do not move on, and it is a way to motivate them to continue. During the morning he was part of the graduation ceremony that was presented to the student body. It was quite an event with all the sixth grade kids introduced by their picture on the overhead. The teacher would ask the kids in the audience, the younger kids, the name of the student as it appeared on the screen, and all the kids would yell “David” or “Obed”. The oldest kids in school are known by name everywhere. There were songs, and short speeches, and the graduates did a skit where they mimicked their teachers. David was one of the four in his class that had a starring role doing this, and of course I was impressed that he was willing to stand in front of the student body and try and be funny in Spanish. He told me later he was so nervous that he thought he was going to “pee his pants”.
In the evening there was a ceremony for the family to attend. We managed to find tickets for everyone in our family, and we watched the students be honored for their accomplishments, and of course we knew at least one of the students had been through even more stress than others as he navigated his way through a new culture and a new language. And we felt proud of him.