Simon's 5th Grade Promotion

On Monday Simon finished 5th grade.

Go Simon go!

Around here that means he's done with Elementary School and will transition to Middle School in the Fall.

Talk about a range of emotions. So proud. So thankful for his teachers and aides. So excited for what's next for him mixed with a little bit of fear (that totally natural sort of fear and protective parent stuff).

Simon sparkles.

I cried while hugging his program director. I feel, and I know Chris does too, that she has been instrumental in his educational experience and his development. She's a tireless advocate for him and she has a great sense of humor. I don't think I can ever really express to her how much I appreciate her even when I try.

We all gathered together in the school cafeteria for the promotion ceremony to celebrate all the 5th graders. They have this great tradition where all the kids in the younger grades (K through 4th) line the hallways to "clap" the 5th graders out of elementary school. Yep, that was enough to make me catch my breath right there. I love that kind of lift-each-other-up action.

When the 5th graders started arriving Simon was closer to the front of the line, a benefit of that "E" last name. He walked into the cafeteria with his backpack on and eyes glued to the floor. We tried to catch his attention when he walked in but it was pretty obvious he just wanted to make it to his seat.

Katie and Peter were sitting behind Chris, Anna and I and Katie was able to catch his eye to let him know we were there and that's when he started beaming. From that point on he was all smiles.

5th Grade Promotion from Ali Edwards on Vimeo.

When his name was called we cheered super loud and he walked across the stage with purpose - head down but shaking each of the teachers hands (the hand shaking in and of itself is an accomplishment) and then straight down off the stage and almost out the door before heading back to his seat.

It was awesome. And he was so, so excited which was the best part of all.

We are so totally proud of you Simon!

71 thoughts

  1. Ruth G

    2013-06-12 22:22:52 -0400

    Congratulations to Simon! I hope that the future holds many strong advocates for Simon's success! It is wonderful that he had fantastic support through 5th grade! I know that you're working hard to ensure a smooth transition into 6th grade!
    I thought it was the support team that helped my son (an aspie) do so well in 5th grade, but he's in the same school and really struggled in 6th grade (mostly didn't bring home homework or turn it in if he completed it.) After one year of mediocre support I at least know what we should be working towards for next year...

  2. Teresa Igo

    2013-06-12 22:24:37 -0400

    Congrats Simon! Ali, I know how you feel. My "baby" will go to middle school next year too. She was more upset than I was though. A lot of tears. Love the family photo also!

  3. Christine

    2013-06-12 22:34:51 -0400

    Wow! What an important milestone in the life of your family. Congrats to Simon and team Edwards.

  4. Robyn :)

    2013-06-12 22:35:09 -0400

    Congratulations Simon!!!

  5. ChrisyC

    2013-06-12 23:13:13 -0400

    Wow - thanks for sharing that Ali. Couldn't help but think that Simon is just surrounded by so much love. Congrats to his Mum and Dad for creating that sort of world for him.

  6. Kristi

    2013-06-12 23:45:37 -0400

    Congratulations, Simon! You always make me smile like this :-D

  7. Yolanda

    2013-06-13 01:45:28 -0400

    Oh throatcatch. I swear you just wrote about him going to kindergarten for the I rest time. It was just last year. I am certain. How can so much time have passed? How cn he be lying off toward that next adventure called Middle School so soon? What a pleasure it is watching Simon grow each year. Watching this video made my heart soar. Go Simon. Go! Go! Go!

  8. Anthea

    2013-06-13 04:08:47 -0400

    Congratulations Edwards family. It really does take a village to bring up a child and such a blessing to know that the village still exists.

  9. Debbie

    2013-06-13 06:59:54 -0400

    My daughter is MID and also had the final walk and hand clapping to complete her 5th grade. It was a bittersweet moment so I know exactly how you feel, Ali. Congrats to Simon and all the other children! Good luck in middle school.

  10. Maureen

    2013-06-13 12:32:23 -0400

    There are a lot of people in the world who have a special place in their heart for Simon, me being one of them! Yay!!! Simon!

  11. jaimee h.

    2013-06-13 14:11:14 -0400

    Just reading this post made me tear up. Your way with words and storytelling is so very special and I can not wait for Hello Story to start up in July.

    And isn't it so great when it is obvious that an educator is in that profession because of their passion for actually developing and caring about our kids. I think that kind of passion is rare and is so important. We entrust our children to their school for at least half of their young lives. Thank you so much for sharing this!!

  12. Jana Oliveira

    2013-06-13 18:31:28 -0400

    This post made me cry today I read your blog for such a long time before even dreamed I myself would be pregnant and would have a Autistic son, and I think I learned with your attitude always showing the positive and cheering Simon the same way I became a advocate for my son and accept him with his different happiness.
    I guess it made me cry because I see this and I see it's possible our kids in their way participate and be out there.Hope for my son one day will be able to do the same.
    thanks Ali for sharing so much and make us not just document our story but live our story no matter the struggles.

  13. Karen

    2013-06-13 19:02:54 -0400

    Great job Simon! Ali....I have a son who is also on the autism spectrum and I know this was a HUGE accomplishment for Simon. Just to get up in front of everybody on that stage....I was beaming for both him and you while watching the video :) When my son got up on stage and sang with his class at this past year's Christmas concert, I cried! Never thought it could happen. It's those little accomplishments that you learn not to take for granted. Thank you for continuing to share Simon's progress and journey. It has meant a lot to me all these years when my own son was diagnosed.(I've been a big fan since your CK days). Both you and Simon continue to be an inspiration! May middle school bring many more victories!!

  14. rhonda nickol

    2013-06-13 19:45:53 -0400

    Congratulations Simon way to go!

  15. Bec Kilgore

    2013-06-14 10:29:53 -0400

    Thank you for letting me/us be a part of The Story of Simon. I continue to cheer him on from afar.

  16. Amanda N.

    2013-06-14 11:40:20 -0400

    Congrats 6th grader! I cried a little when your Simon crossed the stage just as I do each year at my school's 5th grade clap out. As their reading coach I have watched them develop into readers that will help prepare them to be ready for the future. It's such a proud moment for the students, parents, and their teachers to see all the hard work pay off. Good luck in middle school, Simon! :)

  17. MerryMom

    2013-06-14 12:46:55 -0400

    My son's elementary school did the "clap out". All the kids in the school line the hallways and the principal would call out the 4 graders (that's the highest grade at our elementary school) one by one over the PA system. The principal said each name like he was a play by play announcer.

    The student then ran or walked the hallway getting high 5's the entire length of the floor.

  18. Debbie P

    2013-06-15 00:40:22 -0400

    Awesome! Way to Go!!!

  19. Suz

    2013-06-15 01:42:24 -0400

    Go. SIMON. GO!!!
    So, so awesome! :)
    My youngest son, Ethan, just graduated 5th too. They had a big closing ceremony but I am loving the clapping them on to the next grade idea. (Going to run that by the program director at his school! Thanks for sharing Ali! :)
    Take care you.

  20. Benita

    2013-06-15 14:35:24 -0400

    Grattis Simon!

  21. Christine

    2013-06-15 15:53:56 -0400

    Congratulations, Simon! It is so awesome that you will pose as a family despite divorce. I am a wedding photographer, and I cannot tell you how many weddings I have been to where the divorced parents won't be in the same photos, and many refuse to even show up to their child's wedding because they don't want to see the ex! An amazing parent puts those feelings aside for the child. Love to see how you have handled all this with such grace!

  22. yin

    2013-06-18 03:14:08 -0400

    Congrats Simon! Way to go!

  23. Julie

    2013-06-19 16:09:26 -0400

    I'm a fifth grade teacher in a not-so-very-far away district, and our promotion looked almost identical. Same stage direction, same doorways, same adults "guarding" the doors. :) But we don't do the "hand-clap" line, so I think I will suggest that to my principal for next year. Good job Simon! It is melancholy for us teachers as well, saying good-bye.

  24. Karen

    2013-06-27 16:37:21 -0400

    Aw! What a milestone? They grow up so fast. Congrats to Simon and mom for getting through it :)

  25. Project Life 2013 | Week Twenty-Four | Ali Edwards

    2013-07-03 12:55:16 -0400

    [...] included the journaling from this blog post and copied and pasted the text onto a 4×6 canvas in Photoshop (breaking it into 2 text boxes [...]

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