No Graduation Day For You…

She’s no beauty school drop out, that is for sure. No shade to those who might be, we all find our own path in our own time. But I think the biggest struggle of the loss of the last quarter of her Senior year is that she always knew exactly where her path would lead.

Ally came to the U.S. proclaiming “I will go to University” in her proper Ghanaian accent. At first, which University was unclear. That didn’t take very long for her to choose either though. As her little sisters entered our family, three from China, and one from Colombia, her path was chosen. She wanted to stay close and attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Those sisters helped her choose her path to a major as well. She will enter the School of Education with a focus in Elementary Education. She is waiting to decide on Special Education versus Regular Ed, but I know that no matter which program she ends up choosing, her understanding of what it is like to have to fight for a child with a disability will guide the way she teaches.

Ally entered the PEOPLE Program her Sophomore year of high school. She began spending every summer on campus in some pretty intensive programming to help support her in understanding the expectations of a large university. She took to the setting beautifully. In fact, she fell in love with Bascom Hill. She will be the 5th generation of Badger women to graduate from UW Madison from my side of the family. 5 generations of women, and the first woman to graduate college in her family of birth. Roots and wings. Ally’s birth mom wanted this for her. This opportunity was part of the reason she made the choice she did.

That drive to “go to University” was born of the woman who gave birth to her, one who was denied an education in part because of her gender and in part because of poverty. Ally took that and carried that with her as she focused on her goals with precision almost no high schoolers have.

We were devastated to learn that her Senior year would be cut short, and that her traditional graduation would be cancelled. One can be simultaneously grateful and devastated, it is possible. Right now, that is where we are living.

We committed to celebrating all that Ally has accomplished though, in a major way. If you would like to celebrate Ally, a wonderful friend is holding a virtual graduation party for her. All donations go directly to her college fund. She did receive a tuition scholarship that will cover four years, but she has other expenses. And, she is looking forward to decorating a dorm room in the fall, if this virus ever goes away.

We would also love to collect messages for Ally here. Please post a comment if you’d like to join in our celebration!

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