After 4 years of hard studies I am proud to say on Saturday the 12th May my son John graduated from his course in Aeronautics with an Bachelor of Arts degree, his private pilots license and a bunch of fantastic friends he has met along the way. John has always new he wanted to be a pilot from an early age , as soon as he could join the air cadets training at Akrotiri British Military Base in Cyprus where we lived off he went a couple of times a week to followed all the programmes and flying opportunities he could manage , it was with this organisation he learned a lot of the preliminary ins and outs of a career in flying , this as also the place he done his first solo in a glider . He thoroughly enjoyed his time there with the ATC and has a lot to thank them for .
In 2008 we ere going though some big changes in our lives , I was trying to make plans to relocate to USA to get married to my then husband to be and John was looking at universities in various places, one of the options as Liberty University in Lynchburg Virginia , this is one of the most prestigious Christian Universities around and is renouned for having one of the best Aviation courses available, with the fact that it would be not so far a distance from where I would be living in North Carolina , so John made his applications and prayed that he would be accepted , our prayers were answered and he was given a starting date in January 2009. This was wonderful but also a little frightening as the fees and expenses are very high for not only the tuition but the actual flying lessons he needed that are charged by the hour and then the prices of the gas used each flight , somehow with working very hard himself whenever he could , his own money saved up beforehand and a little help from here and there ,and some loans ,he had enough to at least get him to where he is now, Thank you to everyone who has contributed with money as gifts here and there ,it as all appreciated .
The four years have passed rather quickly really , although im sure at times it didn't feel that way to John , so the time arrived and in April we started making plans to attend the Graduation Service to be held in the huge football Stadium there on the campus , It had to be a large venue as they expected 35,000 - 40,000 guests attending , and there was going to be a lot of security as one of the guests was going to be Mitt Romney ( presidential Candidate 2012 )as the commencement speaker.
Here in the USA and im not sure if this is tradition in other countries ,the graduate usually receives a graduation ring from the parents ,well I guess its a personal choice really and up to the individual , but most students like to have one , I know John isnt really into wearing much jewellery so I had my thinking cap on as to what we should buy him , I sat one night and an idea struck me , After Johns dad passed away I had kept our Gold wedding bands and had them stored away until I thought one of my children may want them , well I suppose really they would have kept the rings for sentimental value but maybe not have wanted to wear them , so I wondered if I could have them melted down and turned into a gold airplane charm for the graduation gift , Chester thought this as a wonderful idea ,so I enquired at Natural Creations , this has been the Jewellers that I have always used since arriving in the Outer Banks here in North Carolina , Tim the owner of the shop has always been so good and his work has always been excellent ,so it was him we went to ask about the price etc of doing the task and if it was possible.Tim gave us a really good quote for using our own gold from the wedding bands and said he could do it no problem , he called us after only a week and said he had the charm ready for us to see , we went to the shop and we were really happy with his work , a delicate little airplane that could be hung on a chain or leather necklace or if John preferred he could just keep that charm in his pocket .
On the 11th May we travelled to Lynchburg and stayed with John and his roomate Chris at their apartment , we were grateful for this offer to stay with them as the Local Hotels and Motels were charging an arm and leg for the graduation weekend ,knowing well that the place would be full up everyhere with parents and relatives of the graduates needing to stay near to the university campus .
The Saturday morning of the 12th was the big day ,and in order to have a decent seat and try to avoid the traffic congestion and thousands of people heading toards the stadium , we all left at 6.30am, boy were we tired , even then we still hit long lines of cars waiting to enter the campus and surrounding areas ,but we were able to find a parking spot .
John headed to where he as supposed to dress in his cap and gown and get prepared for his walk etc, we headed off and chose to sit in the bleachers ,it as very cool at that time of the morning so we sat and shivered a while ,the commencement wasnt due to start until 10.00 am .....a long wait for us ,however we went prepared with food and drinks so it wasn't too bad .
steadily the stadium filled up and the graduates filed in like rows and rows of little ants walking along in their black gowns,
There was the prelude music , the Pledge of Allegiance, The National Anthem, various speaches from the Chancellor and Founder of Liberty and some more of the important and prominant people of the university along with the guest commencement speaker Mitt Romney , Chester was trying to count how many men in Black ( Secret Service ) guys were around him but kept loosing count.
After the Commencement , the graduates were to leave the stadium and head towards thier individual degree presentation ceremony , Johns of course was at the Lynchburg regional Airport , so we all got into Johns car and headed there, they had it all set up nicely and after all the graduates had been presented with their diplomas and been praised for their hard work ,we were treated to a very nice layout of wonderful food and drinks ,
We all had a very nice day , Chester, Johns stepdad took a video and a lot of photos so we have some good memories ,click this link to see more photos , Aris and Emily , Johns long time friends from Cyprus were there which was really nice , and even though it was sad that his dad as missing ,we felt that he was there in spirit watching over him and his special day
So now even though his degree is complete , there is a lot more to do , John will have to complete a lot more of training and flying hours before he will become a full commercial airling pilot ,but we know that in God anything is possible ,so we will hope and pray that he will achieve his goals with flying colours and that everytime he touches the special Gold charm he will feel he is being watched over and kept safe by those who love him , I felt I wanted to write a poem for John for his special day and give it to him with his special charm, so I sat a few days and managed to complete a short poem for him , it felt very emotional to do it but I know he liked it and its something he can keep forever .