Monday, March 31, 2014

Branden graduates elementary school

Branden graduated elementary school, March 19th, 2014.  And we were so proud, you guys! But before I begin with all that, I first want to share and go through a few pics of when Branden had his entrance ceremony...back when he was a first grader. This picture was taken April, 9th, 2008. At precisely 11:21am, according to the date and time stamp on this picture. : )  Branden at the time of this picture was, 6 years old at the time and my gosh, he looked so tiny and the 6th graders looked *so* tall....and so big! Hahaha. 

This was taken right after the entrance ceremony. Noboru, Branden, a super teeny tiny toddler Noah and my mother-in law, who came from Osaka to attend the ceremony with us.

Branden all packed up and ready to go! He had homemade/handmade Spongebob Square Pants bags. The yellow gadget in front was in case, anyone tried to abduct my kiddo, he could pull it and it makes a screeching high pitched alert other people. We called that his "stranger danger" emergency pull. : )  The gadgets were free gifts from the elementary school.

At our particular school if you are a 1st grader you must have the yellow cover on your randoseru/backpack which lets everyone know, to take extra precaution...that he is a first timer at elementary school, yep...they must have that yellow thing on the whole first year. : ) And his handmade gym bag with yellow soccer pattern, which held his gym clothes. : )  Anyway this pic was taken in 2008.

Branden, on his very last day of school. The day before he graduated. This was taken on a Tuesday, March 18th, 2014. Goodness he sure stretched out!!!! Hahaha. : ) 

And I tell ya, I love you just as much today...if not more! : ) Doesn't that randoseru look so tiny now! Hahaha. Ohhh, Mr. Dimples, I am so proud of you kiddo!
The whole school was quiet and waiting for you 6th graders to enter the gymnasium. Us parents were waiting. And then the head teacher gave a signal that you were all, indeed, in the hall. Should I take a pic or take a video? Oh decisions decisions. I chose to take a video. Here's the video.
The day before you were all wearing regular clothes to school. You, Branden, in your Uniqlo Coca Cola sweatshirt, jeans and Adidas. Today you all look so different. Uniforms and different inside shoes now. Out of the 2, sixth grade classes, only 2 will be going to a different junior high school. 1 girl, is moving to Narita someplace. And also one of Branden's closest friends, the jinbei boy is going to a different junior high school, he's not moving, he still lives in our same housing community but he's going to a junior high school farther away. But the rest will all stay together and go to the local junior high school. 

Noah and the 2nd graders were sitting pretty near us. He was standing near that kid in the red sweatshirt, but on the other side, hard to see, in this picture. : )

The 2 sixth grade teachers had the bigger corsage flowers, with red and white. Branden's teacher in the gray, she was really cool! : )

Principal on the left, head teacher on the right with huge stacks of diplomas. 6th grade class #1 went first. Next was 6th grade class #2, which was Branden's class.

Our name is at the beginning of the alphabet sorta... so Branden is student #3, so he went 3rd. Branden was standing waiting his turn, Branden was not facing my camera, his back is to us, in this pic. 

You must stand there until they call your name on the loud speaker or microphone and then Branden yelled, "hai!!!" 

As you can tell by that huge grin on our principals face, he adored Branden! Branden was an A and B student, mostly A's though. Got super grades. Got along with everyone. Represented our school in the swim team. Was vice president of the entire school this last year. Just a really good kid, but also a funny kid, loved to dance and sing and I know he will be missed. 

A bit blurry, but Branden bowing.
You did it kiddo! : )

I love this picture because everything is blurry but Branden isn't. Sorta cool the way that happened...totally on accident but...I like that it happened like that. : )

And then, they were all given their diplomas and they all stood. And then they were told to face your former school mates and in unison they all turned around.

Facing their former school mates...with diploma in hand.
This to me, was the saddest or cutest part, however you wanna look at it. Many of us parents were crying hearing these stories. Random 5th grade to 1st grade kids would get up and say what they were thankful for, regarding the 6th graders. One of the messages on this particular video said basically "sisters & brothers" because of you guys, we were able to love school! Another message was about safely watching out for them on the way home from school. The messages were very sincere and heart felt.
Noah looked on and listened to the messages and I thought, Noah is going to miss Branden *so* much! He idolizes his older brother so much. It was sorta nice that they got to go to the same school together for 2 years. Around undokai time, if one of them drank all their thermos, one would go and take a drink from their brothers. It was just sorta nice knowing they had each other....even if just in case. You know what I mean. : )

The 6th graders meanwhile stood and listened to more messages from the younger grades.
Saying what they learned in the 1st grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade and so on. It was lovely to watch.
And then it was over, they walked out in sets. Branden and the girl who is moving to Narita City some place. Love her cute sailor uniform by the way. The 6th graders with diplomas in hand. We were all so proud.

The sixth grade class #1 parents sat on the opposite side to be closer to their kids, while we sat on this side to be closer to ours. : ) But you can see, camcorders, digital cameras, bigger cameras and... many many flashes going off.
Many kids were crying, but, I caught Branden's 5th grade teacher, pictured at the back of this picture crying, he's actually holding a handkerchief. He was Branden's 5th grade teacher and so he taught half of these kids graduating personally. He was an amazing teacher, he's so good with kids. And yes, he was quietly crying back there. We were all crying that's okay. : ) 

You can tell this boy is a sweetheart of a kid, I truly mean that. : ) And again, many many were crying. Teachers were, us parents were. Noah was. We all were. As they said in the video above, at least for us here in the countryside...they (meaning the younger grades) call them, "brother and sister" there is a real genuine closeness there. A real looking out for one another here in the country side. So yes, it is hard for many to see them graduate and go away. Even though the junior high is only 5 minutes from the elementary school.   

There were many notes and messages from former teachers. Branden's 1st and 2nd grade teacher, the Yuka-sensei, sent her former 1st and 2nd grade class a message. Talking about how she remembers when they first came in, as a first grader with those brand new randoseru/backpacks. 

The 6th graders went back to their class right after they walked out of the gymnasium. Us parents were to follow. 

A professional video guy was taping the entire thing. 

The wall now had a drawing of a graduating boy and girl and of course with cherry blossoms. It was beautiful. Again parents setting up camcorders.

The teacher was crying, which made us all cry one more time. She told them that she had laminated a special message to each of her students. And she also said she wants to have a meet up when they are all 20 year old and have a party and meet up! All the kids agreed and promised to meet back up when they are 20. They told her "sensei please don't cry" 

And then, everyone surprised the sensei and each of the kids gave her 1 flower!

Branden holding his!

Branden giving her a flower. Awww.  And then us parents were asked to go back to the gymnasium for pictures. They managed to clear out all the other grades.

All of their seat covers and earthquake disaster covers. Somehow, me seeing this pile, made me realize...yep it's over for sure this time!

Sixth grade class #1 parents and kids took their class photo first and then we went next. 

They asked for each graduate and 1 parent to walk with them. Other family was already walking. But do you see the whole school formed 1 big line. A good bye line, from the 1st graders all the way up to the 5th graders. Every child held 1 flower and gave it to their favorite 6th grader. And also each child drew a picture of their favorite 6th graders face. If you had a note to pass them  this was the time. : )  The sixth grade class #1 class walked the good bye line first and we walked after. It was a lovely way to send off a graduating child. 

Everyone waiting to give them 5! High five them, wave, smile, cheer, say good luck/ganbatte in junior high!

And I knew, 1 little 2nd grade boy in particular was waiting for 1 freshly graduated 6th grader in particular. : ) I knew Noah wanted to give Branden a high five. He started to smile as we got closer. 

Noah's face says it all! He thinks you're just the bees knees, Branden. 

Each child holding a flower.
This group of boys right here, is the popular group of boys. Student council boys, swim team boys, track, soccer boys. These boys are the most vocal and out going of the both classes, right here.  Branden, front row far left, K right behind Branden, who Noah wrapped up as a mummy with toilet paper. The boy holding the flower next to K was in the swim team too. 4th boy from left at the back is Genki. If you were a boy and wanted to hang with the cool kids, these are the cool kids/cool boys at our local elementary school. But real good sweet kids though. 

Branden you grew in a blink of an eye kiddo. But, I couldn't be a prouder mama. I tell ya that. : ) 

A lot of the quieter shy boys were standing off to the side, but the main boys called them over and said...come take a picture with us. And I was glad they did that! That way everyone got to be in the picture!

Then the girls, said...we want in this picture too! hahaha. So they joined in too! : )

Branden's teacher was so funny and has a quick sense of humor, so does Branden, so they made each other laugh quite a bit! On her personal note that she laminated in plastic for Branden, she said, when you swam at the swim meet you gave me chills. And she also said, when you danced to Michael Jackson at the talent show, you did it, so effortlessly. Also her first sentence love your family so much. Must be because he was always looking after Noah at school. She continued and said he was so funny and always made everyone laugh and feel happy.
Graduation day.

This was the picture someone drew of Branden. It was written by a 2nd grader. Though granted it doesn't really look much like Branden. The 1 thing, that got me was...they drew him smiling! And that is because Branden really is always smiling. He's such a happy kid. He really is and yeah...I thought how fitting. Branden leaves the school where they think he's a a really nice guy and a really smiley guy. What a good reputation to have. : )  What a good note to leave on.

Branden also received a flower of course, but he also received so many personal letters.  And even bath powder and a mechanical pencil. 

Aww, I can just imagine someone saving up their allowance to give a gift to their favorite 6th grader. : ) The graduation was over around 11:30am. We all went home, changed out of our formal clothes. And at 2pm, a great big limousine bus (how they call it in Japan) came and picked us up at our housing community. You had a choice to drive yourself to the hotel in Narita or take 1 of the 2 buses. 1 bus picked up and dropped off at the plaza and the 2nd bus picked up from our housing community. We caught that bus.  

All 6th graders came, with at least 1 parent, about 5 dad's showed up, Noboru came and I was really glad. Noboru wanted to be there with us of course, and experience it and celebrate too, I'm really glad he came. Noah came too. All kids just wore regular clothes, jeans or whatever. Us adults just dressed casually too. Our school had booked one of the buffets at a hotel. It was just our school, no other customers, just open for us and that was really nice.

There was spaghetti, curry, karaage, french fries, salad section, jello, chocolate fondue with fresh fruit and marshmallow, fresh rolls, and a lot more. Drinks too.

My first serving, a salad and 2 different types of dinner rolls.

Noboru , Noah and I asked Genki's mom to sit with us. That is the back of Genki's mom's head right here, she's very pretty. : ) There was a slide show we were all watching.

Branden cooking in the kitchen at a Chinese restaurant. This was on "try a job day"....some kids went and spent the day working on a farm, some went and worked at the local train station, some at the fire department. 

Aha, and the 3 kids who went and worked at a restaurant that 1 day, Genki, Branden and Saya-chan.

There are 2 kids not going to the local junior high school, so the good friends of the 2, presented them with gifts and flowers and stuff. Here is Branden and 2 other boys giving something to the "Jinbei boy"

And the girl who is moving, was presented things from her closest friends too. She cried, they all cried. 

The Jinbei boy and Branden walking back. His mom and I are real good friends, in fact we're both co-fuku kaicho's this year together. And he still lives in our housing community, so we'll see him often. : ) He's a real good kid. 

This was probably *the* coolest thing to give the graduating class! It was a paper wrapped in a navy blue ribbon. Please don't forget the ribbon, for the story later. 

Inside said, in 1st grade you were this tall, 2nd grade that tall and so on, all the way to the 6th grade. And then you get to the bottom of the paper and...

It says you grew 37.6 cm during your elementary school years and at the bottom it says that ribbon which tied this paper up is *exactly* how tall you grew during your 6 years! OMG, isn't that fantastic! That is probably one of the coolest things Branden received as a graduation present! Very cool!

Yep, Branden grew that much! Needless to say this is going into the "keep sake" box for sure!

A gift from the town board of education. Every graduate received this.

An English/Japanese dictionary to use in junior high.
Branden's diploma.

The 6th graders with younger siblings made the picture frame. Noah made the frame at school for Branden. He painted pasta and glued them on there. Hahaha. : ) And then they went and collected messages from friends or fellow classmates. Branden received many comments on this. And Noah told Branden he painted that shell pasta in the bottom right hand corner in gold especially for him! lol. Branden thanked Noah so much for the handy dandy frame with messages he managed to collect for him. Awww. : ) Anyway, there you have it. Branden's elementary school graduation story. Onwards and upwards kiddo! So proud of you! : )