Friday, June 01, 2007


This past weekend my youngest brother, Ryan, graduated from high school. He's the last of the three of us Gebhardt brothers to leave the realm of ostracizing, zits, awkwardness, cliques, close friends, football games, and small town life to move on to college, which I'll argue is one of the most amazing periods of a person's life.

Now Ryan didn't just graduate from high school. No, he came out on top, being one of the school's co-valedictorians. This is quite an honor for him, and no doubt an even greater honor for my parents as they have now completed the trifecta of valedictory in their children. All three of us Gebhardt boys were valedictorian of our class, which is pretty sweet when you think about it. How many couples out there can say they cranked out three pretty darn smart kids? Not many, I'm guessing.

Saturday was my little brother's open house and it was one heck of a decked out party. My parents had ordered in bucket loads of food (which, in equivalent terms, is 50 lbs of meat, lots of candy, chips, deserts, cake, and all the other goodies you think of when you think of graduation parties) and created quite the set up of my brother's achievements.

There were tables upon tables filled with photo albums of my brother covering every period of his life. Then there were scrapbooks my mom put together especially for him, all of his track medals & trophies, a good chunk of his artwork, school related t-shirts, and tons of other memorabilia. It was pretty darn amazing.

I know it might not mean much to Ryan, and when my mom did this for my graduation I don't think I really truly appreciated it, but looking back I realize it wasn't all for me. A lot of what my mom and dad did putting things together, going through old photos, and gathering up tokens of our lives was for them, not for us.

As they put together all of the wonderful graduation display pieces, they could think back to the memories they held on to of their children from that time. And with Ryan being the last of us boys, my mom might have went a little overboard on the graduation materials, but who can blame her? It's the last time she could do this.

It really was phenomenal to see everything out all over the place and the tables, walls, and any open space available decked out in snippets of memories from Ryan's life. I hope he doesn't miss high school too much, though, because college is one heck of a wonderful time.

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