MANATEE -- At nearly every high school graduation a plea is made to the audience not to cheer until all the graduates have walked across the stage.
But at the 2013 S.H.A.R.E. home school graduation Saturday, coordinator Debbie Dykes gave the following instructions to an enthusiastic audience of roughly 200 at The Source Church on State Road 64.
"Holler all you want," Dykes said.
Of course, with just 13 graduates Saturday, one could say that S.H.A.R.E., which stands for Support Home School Activities Reaching Everyone, has the space and time to treat every graduate like royalty.
But Dykes said even when 31 graduated a few yearsago, there were still moving PowerPoint presentations with baby pictures of each
graduate and dedications to parents, same as there were Saturday.
"This year we added audio dedications from the graduates to their parents and we all sang the graduates' dedication to the Lord, which we never did before."
The dedication song this year was "Lifesong" by Casting Crowns.
Even though the three young men and 10 young ladies all wore similar white caps and gowns, by the end of the afternoon the audience seemed to know each of them personally.
Ellenton's Heather Kobus, who presented the class speech with Alyssa Tippett, plans on becoming a senator and later becoming president of the United States.
Her magnetic personality came through as she yelled, "We made it!" after getting her diploma from The Honorable Judge Paul E. Logan.
"As president, I plan on fixing the price of gasoline so everyone can afford it,"Kobus said at the reception after the ceremony. "And I'm for peace. We will definitely strive for that around the world."
Kobus said her friends believe before being president she should be a stand-up comic or a saleswoman, but she believes sheshould head for StetsonUniversity in the fallwhere she will major in pre-law and minor in political science. She is also a cheerleader.
When asked for a pearlof insight about the home school experience, Kobus said, "Even if kids don't want to admit it, they will need their parents and family one day. I feel we home schoolers have developed a lifelong support group that other kids may not have in the same way because they spent their school with kids their own ages."
The audience perhaps was stunned with the talent of Sarasota's Miranda Huff, who played a flute solo.
"It was totally worth it," Huff said later of being taught by her mom and dad, Karen Ward and Bob Huff. "Your parents are your best teachers because they understand how you learn."
Said Ward of being Miranda's home schooling mom: "Bliss."
Saturday's graduates were Annalee Michelle Brush, Chelsie Elizabeth Butler, Noelle Rose Crooks, Justin Gabriel Diemler, Breeana Elaine Fossum, Hannah Kathryn Goldsmith, Ashton Bentley Hoehne, Robbi Marina Howard, Miranda Spring Huff, Heather Nicole Kobus, Jordan Rochelle Robertson, Austin Lewis Swink and Alyssa Marie Tippett.