Celebrating the Graduates
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By Jennifer Lebo
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It's that time of year, and this weekend many of us will be celebrating the graduates in our lives.  Commencement for our seniors here at Fountain Valley School is tomorrow, and the campus is bursting with energy, excitement and joy.

I'm so excited to be here to celebrate with our wonderful students, and yet my heart is somewhere else.  A little further east and south.  Today, my little baby niece, Hannah, is graduating from high school, and so while I am here at FVS soaking up all the joy, I am a little sad to not be there with her, celebrating this day with her.

As anyone who knows me knows, Hannah holds a special place in my heart.  From the moment she made me "Aunt Jen", I have been smitten with her.  We have shared giggles, secrets, and pen-pal letters, but my favorite shared tradition with her is (of course) our photo sessions.

When Hannah was about 9 or 10 we began this tradition.  Whenever I would come to visit, I would take her out for a special photo shoot, just the two of us.  We'd plan outfits and choose a location, then head out usually during the morning hours.  Afterwards, we'd go out for a breakfast date.  It was a highlight of every trip.

The years passed, and Hannah grew into the most beautiful, kind, and wonderful teenager.  She developed passions and talents and got busier and busier, as all teens get.  But she always made time for our special photo shoot.  Whenever I would come visit, we'd go out for some photos, some food, and some quality time together.

I'm not sure what I loved more- the closeness we shared during these times or the gorgeous photos we captured together.

And so today, as our family and friends celebrate this amazing young lady of ours, I wanted to celebrate her in a special way, by sharing these memories of our special outings together.

Hannah will be heading off to college in the fall, where she will run track, study nursing, and no doubt do exceptional things with her life.

This blog post is for you today, Hannah.  I am so proud to be your aunt.  I am so overwhelmed at who you have become, who you are everyday becoming.  You are so beautiful, inside and out.  Thank you for sharing these special outings with me.  Thank you for sharing your time with me.

It saddens me to think that we may have had our last special photo shoot.  But we've captured some beautiful memories together.  The sessions might be over, but the memories will continue.  I can't wait to watch you soar, and to hopefully be there to capture it.

Congratulations, Banana. 


Aunt Jen

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Mary Jane Sparacio - I LOVE this. I LOVE our subject, Hannah who made me a grandmother and a very proud one, and I LOVE you Jennifer, my daughter, who has always made me proud. Great memories shared and many, many more great memories to come.
Love, Mom-Grandma.