May 11, 2014

Goodnight, Sweetheart

Whew! This weekend has been so busy.
One last hurrah, if you will.

This weekend, Newtok had it's prom on Friday and it's graduation on Saturday.
It was one for the books.

Friday, the seniors started decorating the gym.
Now, I don't know what I was expecting.
Maybe I was thinking, "Heyyy we live in the middle of bush Alaska, this prom ain't gonna be nothin'."
Boy was I wrong.
The theme was Goodnight, Sweetheart so it was decorated with stars and glitter with purples, blacks, and blues. So pretty.
Prepare to be amazed…

How awesome, right? I was so impressed.

With the gym being so beautifully decorated, I couldn't wait to see what the girls wore!
Betsy and I actually got to help with this part!

One girl asked Friday morning if I could curl her hair. I was hesitant because if we are being honest, I haven't really touched my curling iron this whole year. But I knew my aunt's touch had to still have an effect on me, right?! So I said yes.
Betsy got asked to do the girls' makeup so we had our own little beauty shop in my classroom.

Some of the girls we helped!

Some of our work:

Prom: A night where everyone looks beautiful. Newtok's prom wasn't any different, either! It even tugged at my heart strings a little to see my Jr. High students so beautiful!

^^ Some of the girls Betsy and I helped!

^^ Some of my Jr. High girls ladies.
^^ Some other beauties from the night.

When I went to prom in high school, it was only for upper classmen - Juniors and Seniors. If you got asked by a Jr. or Sr. as a Sophomore or Freshman, you could go. In Newtok, it's a bit different. Since our school is Pre-K-12, our school is small. We have an elementary wing (Pre-K-6) and an upper wing (7-12). Prom is for the upper wing and the community. Anyone in 7th grade or older in the whole community can come. I thought this was such a cool thing. I saw older women and men dressed up and ready to boogie. Students were dancing with other classmates and different community members. It was a good night for all. 

So at 8, the party officially started.
With other older community members, I thought I could go out there and show them my moves.
This is where I finally figured out that I'm an old fart so I'm not considered "cool" anymore on the dance floor - if I ever was to begin with.
I know it's blurry but this sums up my attitude (and my dance moves) the entire night:
Obviously, I had a good time.

And you can't go to prom without a date:

It was a prom that was typical of any school. They had a prom king and queen:

They played the typical songs: Cotton-Eyed Joe and the Cha-Cha Slide:

They even had the game of limbo:

^^ Haha. She decided to be a rebel and step over the stick, instead of under! Told ya the community members really had a good time at prom! 

So at 11, when the DJ stopped playing, my first prom at Newtok was over. Such a fun time was had by all! 

The next day (Saturday), the seniors got ready for graduation. 
Oh, I remember that feeling. So ready to start your own path and journey - to be free.
Then, when the moment hits you, you are so scared - not sure if you can do this.
It was the weirdest thing to see these students process those exact emotions.
They walked out so excitedly - then when they gave their speeches, it hit them. You could see it on their faces that this was the last time things would be the same. 
I got a little emotional watching them.
I just wanted to go up there and tell them that better things are ahead. High school will not be the best four years of your life - there are better things ahead. You need to welcome change and responsibility. Make life the way you want it. You can do this! 

This was definitely a different graduation ceremony then what I'm used to.
>> Most of the ceremony was in Yupik. Not a surprise there.
>> All the graduates gave a speech. I thought this was such a cool thing. Since there was only nine of them (and actually this was a bigger class than in the past), they opted for everyone to give a speech. They thank specific people for getting them to this point in life, they tell some funny memories of high school, then they give advice to the younger students.
>> They take time out of the ceremony for community speeches. This is for anyone in the community to go up to the microphone and give advice/blessings to the graduating class.
>> Towards the end of the ceremony, the graduates take flowers and hand them out to their grandma's and mom's to tell them thank you. Such a sweet moment.

If there is one thing that signals the end of the year, it is prom and graduation.
Cannot believe this is my last week in Newtok. In seven days, I will officially be in Seward living with Josh again. 
My time in Newtok is coming to an end, almost like the end of the day.
I guess it is time to say Goodnight, Sweetheart.

But I don't want to end this blog post with such a sad feeling - so I'm going to tell you what I was doing a year ago today! May 11, 2013

>> A year ago today, Joshua and I were walking across McKendree's stage, graduating college.

^^ The night before graduation - Senior Farewell Dinner

>> A year ago today, Joshua and I were getting married in exactly two weeks.
Which now means… in two weeks we will have our first year anniversary.

So thankful we got married at Tom Saxe's place. He let us set up as early as we wanted. Those two weeks were spent out here, getting everything ready. Could not have done it without my mother and everyone else who helped! Sweet, sweet memories!

I am so, so thankful for everything this past year has taught us. From graduating college, finally getting married, living with his parents, then heading up to Alaska to experience this wonderful life, it has truly been an exceptional year.

And in only seven more days will I be able to say that we live away from each other no more. 

And Happy Mother's Day to all the special mothers/grandmas/aunts/sisters in our lives! We hope you have a great day!

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