Commentary: Proud dad ready to watch his daughter graduate

For the past few years, I've taken this first week of June to write a column to acknowledge a few seniors whom I've had the pleasure of watching, covering and enjoying over the time spent in high school.

This year things are just a bit different. Thirty years ago on an early June night, I walked across the stage of the Havre de Grace High School auditorium to receive my high school diploma and seemingly instantaneously, became an adult. Yes, an adult with no real direction outside of my church and faith.

Now, 30 years down that road, my only blood-linked child, my daughter, Kelsey, will make that stroll across that same stage Thursday night to receive her diploma along with her fellow graduating seniors.

Somewhat ironic, I was also 30 years old when Kelsey was born and it's been a fast, among other things, 17-plus years.

It just doesn't seem right that the grade school process has come to an end so quickly and her 18th birthday will come after her first year of college has begun. So many years ago, it was Beanie Babies and of course a few Barbie Dolls. The Beanie Babies far outnumbered the Barbies.

It was during those few early years that Kelsey slowly started to become who she is and in a few cases, who she was. It was in year five that her athletic career began, most notably on the T-Ball field at Stancill Park. Kelsey was introduced to the catching position early on. Other than hitting a home run, what greater thrill could there be in T-Ball than putting the ball on the tee for each new batter?

Kelsey also started her soccer playing about that time, but it just wasn't quite the same. Kelsey had no more of a desire to kick the ball as I did of diving into the local pool. I'm a non-swimmer. Kelsey was on the field, but I'm not sure she touched the ball more than a few times that first season.

Eventually, things changed a bit and Kelsey got a little more involved. I do recall, though, one soccer picture day when we left without getting a picture taken because of some problem. I think that was the only time for that.

Soccer became much more enjoyable as time went on and Kelsey also found her niche for dance. I'm not sure how many years, but I watched a number of nice performances by the Havre de Grace Dancers in the same auditorium Kelsey will graduate in.

Percussion also became part of who Kelsey is and, yes I was a drummer, but Kelsey is a percussionist and a pretty good one. Some of the stuff she and her percussion ensemble have done the past four years was simply awesome.

Looking back, middle school was a breeze, a quick three-year stay without a whole lot of drama. At least that's what I remember.

The high school years have also kind of flown by, at least for me. I'm sure Kelsey and many other seniors would argue that point. Poor things, didn't even get a snow day this year. Just terrible.

Kelsey's final year has been a good one. A captain of both the soccer and softball teams, Kelsey was a leader. Her peers honored her with a senior superlative for Most Athletic. The softball team honored her with the Sportsmanship Award. That makes me proud.

Kelsey and a couple hundred others traveled back to Disney earlier this year. For Kelsey and a couple others, it was a second trip, having made the trip as freshmen. A good report card each quarter, too. Maybe straight As to end it?

So, with baccalaureate behind her, and senior awards set for this morning (Wednesday), there's just that final walk Thursday night in Havre de Grace. Congratulations Kelsey, from me, your proud father.

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