In our school district, kids received their high school letters last night – not for football, soccer, or lacrosse - but for achievement in the ARTS.  It was like our own mini-Oscars.  The title of this post comes from the T-shirt worn by one of the attendees.

We clapped loudly and often for high achievement in rocking-chair-woodcrafting, costume-crafting and decorating skills, yearbook creation, photography, painting, music, drama, visual arts, and robotics. Here Ian receives the award from his excellent art teacher, Mrs. Rogers.  Since it’s his 3rd award, he got a little gold bar to put on the actual chenille letter.  While you don’t see the arts kids swaggering through the halls with their leather-sleeved letter jackets, menacing the jocks with their ultra cool hipsterhood, the point is, you COULD. 

This is one of my favorite school ceremonies.  You see kids you’ve known since babyhood developing huge talent and achieving great success, and being nurtured and supported by the school district – which refuses to cut funding for the arts, no matter how tight things get. 

And Ian had an extra fan in the crowd – his 8th grade confirmation mentor.  She’s kept in touch with him over the years and made a point of joining us for dinner and the ceremony last night.  Which makes us grateful for the support networks created by our church. 

I was pleasantly surprised to see  this blogger at the award, because her kids are very little.  Turns out she, her husband and her children were there to support her nephew.  That’s the kind of night it was.

Speaking of arts and letters, here’s the list of books recommended by you all, organized in no particular order.  I think I got them all but apologize for there are any sins of omission.

Night Navigation, Ginnah Howard

 The Twilight Books

 A Death in the Family, James Agee

 The Memory of Old Jack

A Wrestling Season

The Blind Assassin, Margaret Atwood

Mystic River, Dennis Lehane

A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irving

Memoirs of a Geisha, Arthur Golden

The Red Tent, Anita Diamant

Joy in the Morning/A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith

Catcher in the Rye, J. D. Salinger

Like Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen 

Rebecca, Daphne DuMaurier

Peony in Love/Snow Flower & The Secret Fan, Lisa See

Out Stealing Horses, Per Petterson

Saving Fish From Drowning, Amy Tan

Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver

Pope Joan, Donna Cross

A Thousand White Women, Jim Fergus

Three Cups of Tea, Greg Mortenson

 Escape, Carolyn Jessup

American Gods, Neil Gaiman

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