A Great Ending
Jaylin is now a high school graduate! His graduation from Harding Academy was Saturday night, and it was held outside on the school football field, due to social distancing and all that. That location seemed pretty fitting for us football parents. Here are some photos from the evening.
The ceremony began with Jaylin and his classmates walking to their seats while the band played “Pomp and Circumstance”. Once Jaylin and the other senior band members reached the field, they joined the band to play the traditional graduation march.
After a few introductory remarks, the chorus sang for one last time, which was actually their first public performance for this school year, thanks to COVID. Jaylin is at the front left.
Next up was a final band performance, and they played a song written by Colby Canterbury, the band director. If you are looking for Jaylin, he is just to the right of Mr. Canterbury.
Right after the band performance, Jaylin led a prayer for the future of his classmates. It was a beautiful prayer, well-spoken, and very thoughtful. As we were on the way to the ceremony, Jaylin was mentioning all the times he would have to take off his cap, and one of them was when he led the prayer. Once we got to school, Laura said, “Did you know that Jaylin was leading a prayer?” I did not, and neither did she. He did not seem nervous about it at all, and he did a great job. And yes, he did remove his cap once he started praying. This photo was taken as he was saying he was about to lead the prayer.
At the end of the ceremony, there as the traditional tossing of the caps that everyone loves. Since I keep pointing out where Jaylin can be found in these photos, he is at the front left here. It was a nice ceremony. You could feel the love that the classmates all have for each other. And the weather was just perfect.
Photos after Graduation
Once the ceremony ended, each of the graduates went to an assigned spot on the field to be with family and take photos. And if you know us, you know we took lots of photos!
Laura was a proud mother, as you might imagine.
The proud parents and their happy graduate.
Jaylin’s grandparents were proud, too. And we were all happy that all of us got to be there.
Parents and grandparents together. And 80% of the people in this photo are Harding graduates. My Mom went to Kingsbury. But then she taught at Harding for many years, so we have lots of Harding connections.
The Riedels are Jaylin’s other family, and it was great that they could be there, too. Also, if you go back up to the chorus photo above, Katie is third from the right on the second row, but she is mostly hidden.
Katie asked Jaylin if she could wear his cap, since she has similar photos from her brother Zach’s high school and college graduations. Of course, Jaylin said yes. These two are very much like siblings.
And here are the Burnses and Riedels, minus Zach, who is off doing graduate school stuff in Illinois. We missed him.
All of the Burnses and Riedels together. Except for Katie, who was off talking to some of the other graduates. It was a little difficult to get everyone together for photos with everything going on and everyone to talk to. But that is okay, because it is good to have all of those connections.
Jaylin and Taylor started out as foster children right around the same time, and now they have graduated from high school together. How cool is that?
And here are the proud parents while Jaylin was off talking to some of his friends. I thought it would be nice to have a photo of just the two of us together.
Laura and I decided to wear our Harding class rings because Jaylin was wearing his Harding class ring. So here are all of our rings together for the three Harding graduates.
Jaylin proudly shows off his diploma binder. And yes, the actual diploma was inside it, unlike some graduations I have been to where you just receive an empty binder. This backdrop and balloon arch were set up near the football field entrance, so we decided to make use of it as we were on our way out.
It was a great graduation evening, and all of us around here are proud of Jaylin!
Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. - Deuteronomy 31:6
About the Photos
The photos from the graduation ceremony indicate one time when it would be good to have a longer zoom lens than what I have, so that I could have zoomed in a little more. But I am happy with how these turned out.
I used the 50mm prime lens for the family photos, mainly because of the larger aperture, which was essential. The football field lights were on, but it was still rather dark out. The wider aperture helped a good bit, as did some good processing in Luminar AI to make things look a bit brighter and less shadowy.
Photo: Each photo is a single Raw exposure, processed in Luminar AI. Read more about photography tips, photo software, camera gear, and more at Steve’s Photography Tips.
Camera: Sony Alpha A7 II
Lens: Sony FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS lens and S_ony FE 50mm f/1.8_
Date: May 15, 2021
Location: Harding Academy, Memphis, Tennessee