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On May 28, 2011, Claire graduated from Sheridan High School. We gathered in the Life Skills classrooms for a little party prior to the ceremony.
Claire was all dressed up but she still ended up in her favorite place to be: the Life Skills bathroom that is between the two classrooms. She could be found there many school days happy playing by herself with her toys.
Claire was the only student in the Life Skills program who would be leaving the program this year, so the party was just for her and her family.
We were joined by her teacher, aides, and some peer helpers.
Here's Claire with her bus aide, Gail, who attended with her husband.
We gave Claire a talking graduation frog. At the beginning of the day, she needed help from her sister to squeeze its hand and make it talk.
Her teacher and aides gave her a graduation present: ...
... an electronic guitar toy that she was thrilled to receive.
Dressed in her graduation gown, we got a photo of Claire with Gail, Mr. Moore, Missy, Brooke, and Lee Ann.
Next was a family photo with her sister, dad, mom, and stepdad.
Here's Claire with her dad's parents and with her stepdad's mom.
Soon, it was time to head into the gym for the ceremony.
Our group had a reserved section in the first and second rows closest to where Claire would be sitting.
Here we are.
Claire would be escorted by one of the peers who had helped out in her class during the year. Gerrid was selected from several students who volunteered to walk with her, and his family was seated next to us in the front row.
Here's the commencement program, ...
... with our girl listed. Technically, she would be receiving a certificate of completion instead of a diploma, but it was nice to have her participate in this rite of passage.
We could see our girl in the hallway waiting patiently for something to happen.
She walked in with her fabulous teacher, Mr. Moore.
Gerrid stepped in to walk her down the last row to their seats in front of us.
To our amazement, Claire sat for the entire ceremony, even though she didn't have a toy with her.
She didn't stay facing forward the entire time, but she stayed quiet the whole time.
Gerrid helped her to stand up when it was called for.
She sat through the speeches, ...
... and the musical performances, ...
... and this guy's speech, which went on quite a while.
Finally, it was time to go up on stage.
Mr. Moore took over from Gerrid, so he could walk across the stage by himself.
Claire was the last student announced, and the crowd erupted in cheers.
Her hat had stayed on the entire time but once she got on stage, it fell off.
Gerrid escorted her back to her seat.
After the ceremony, we gathered outside the school for pictures. Here's Claire with her sister. Jill had styled Claire's hair for her special day.
We took Claire to a restaurant after the ceremony with Tom's mom. By now, Claire had happily figured out how to squeeze her graduation frog's hand to make him talk.
Next, we stopped at her favorite park to ride the specially adapted swings for a few minutes.
At home, we put Claire's graduation flowers (provided by the high school) on the mantel.
Claire opened some graduation cards and some presents from her grandma.
We didn't have an open house for Claire, but we did have some graduation cupcakes.
Congratulations, Claire!

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