Mom and I headed down to the Phoenix Convention Center and grabbed some seats in the exhibit hall.
Soon, the graduates filed in and we got to hear "Pomp and Circumstance" about 239 times. The ceremony started with a song and then some speeches. I was moved to tears while listening to some of these graduates' stories. One woman, who received her PhD, talked about how as a child, she had a learning disability so severe her teachers said she would never read or write. Well, now she has a doctorate degree so she sure stuck it to the man! One man decided to pursue school again after a 15-year break, which he took when he failed the same basic community college math class twice. He tearfully told us how one professor taught him, "Perseverance always wins." I had never considered this before, but it's true. The people who continue to fight for their desires and never give up eventually achieve them regardless of their skill level or talent. He proved his professor's theory true by not only graduating but attaining a 4.02 GPA.
MoniQue graduated in Nutrition Communication so her section of graduates walked last. She was only the second grad to cross the stage during that section so I nearly missed her. Dang it! I did manage to get her as she was shaking hands with some fancy people on her way off stage.
P.S. -- the girl in the decorated cap is NOT MoniQue, but I thought it was too cute not to capture.
Afterward I went outside and met up with MoniQue, her husband Mike and his sister and mom for some congratulations and pictures. Soon MoniQue's long-time Californian friend Vin showed up and I got to meet him, too.
The six of us took a short walk down 3rd street to have lunch at District American Kitchen. It's in the Sheraton lobby and it's my new favorite restaurant. Chef Jay really took care of us with some fabulous apps and desserts. Being a macaroni and cheese aficionado, I ordered theirs straight off the menu and my, was it GOOD! Yes, those are cheese puffs you see on top. Also bacon and chorizo.
For dessert, Chef Jay regaled us with berry brulee, chocolate whoopie pies with peppermint ice cream and the most dense, moist carrot cake I've ever had IN MY LIFE. It was amazing and I don't even like carrot cake usually.
My favorite part of the day was when MoniQue bestowed the Stole of Gratitude on her husband, Mike. It's always an emotional occasion with plenty of waterworks.
I want to publicly congratulate MoniQue on the accomplishment of graduating from college. It's a tough venture for anyone, but MoniQue did it while enduring a few surgeries and unexplained chronic pain. She faithfully went to class and studied her butt off to graduate cum laude. I'm seriously impressed, but if anyone was up to the challenge, it was her. I hope she enjoys some much-deserved time off (hopefully hanging out with me). Love you, Q!