Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

June 12, 2013

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!


  • 1.
    dawn said…

    This was so cute to see, he did almost go out the door, too funny!! So glad you got this on tape, bet he will love this later on. Love the group picture, did Simon know that Miss Anna was making a face? He looks so happy Ali, his eyes have sparkles, GO SIMON GO!!

    We also have the clap-out here and Sam my last one is now moving to middle school also. I got a little teary but saved it for at home. He was so happy this day and is still in shock that it’s over already. We have been blessed with the best school of teachers thru all these years for him and his sisters. I would keep them all there forever if I could. The middle/high school don’t compare to this amazing elementary, closeness, family attitude. Sam wants to be a principal or gym teacher one day at this school. I would love to see him go back and do just that.

    Thanks for sharing this Ali, so happy and proud of Simon!! He is so lucky to have the teachers, awesome parents and sweet Katie by his side.

    Crossing my fingers that both our boys do well next year and hugs for you to get you thru it all!

  • 2.
    Laura said…

    Congrats to Simon!

    I hope your IEP meetings went well and you’re happy with the next school. I’m sure he’ll do great!

  • 3.
    Audrey said…

    My oldest is also going on to middle school next year. Love the clap out from the younger grades. Our school tries to keep things low key with no special awards or promotion ceremony which I think is a shame. We need to celebrate all the work our kids do every chance we can. My son has Aspergers and I laughed as I saw Simon run off the stage and head for the door because my Josh would do the same. How far Simon has come and we’re so lucky to have seen all his progress through your blog. Good job Momma!

  • 4.
    Jackie K said…

    Brilliant! Love the clap out for the 5th graders…

  • 5.
    Bambou Orchidee said…

    Congrats Simon! Such awesome moments!

  • 6.
    Michelle B said…

    The school here is split between primary school (pre K -2nd) and elementary school (3-5). The primary school had a “award” ceremony for the second graders and at the end the walked the halls of the school and all the lower grades did what they call a “clap out”. I was a goose bump, emotional kind of thing. Congrats Simon on your accomplishments, we wish you the best in middle school. :)

  • 7.
    kelly libby said…

    whewww. That made me cry. Wow. What a wonderful family, a wonderful boy, and an amazing school!! My sister’s children go to a fantastic Magnet School (in West Hartford, CT) by chance of winning in the school lottery system and on the first day of school all the teachers and staff line the roads with signs and cheers and clapping and high 5′s as a welcome to school. Even the college students from the University of Hartford join in (specifically the basketball team) at the school entrance. It’s a similar, “We’re all in this together” kind of thing! It always is about community, isn’t it? Be proud, Ali. You’re a great mom!!

  • 8.
    karen keiper said…

    yay simon!

  • 9.
    Denise Sanner said…

    my heart swells up with {joy} while reading this post. ethan is also on his way to middle school…sixth grade also. our school has the “walk of fame”…the 5th graders walk around the halls twice while getting high fives from the underclassman. thankfully i was getting lots of photos…no chance for {noticeable} tears.

  • 10.
    Denise Sanner said…

    okay. i just watched the video i am in tears. thanks for sharing his life journey with us. love how he snatched his certificate ? from the podium. he has come so far…so good to hear all his supporters cheering him on.

  • 11.
    Dolly said…


  • 12.
    Monika Wright said…

    What a great day for Simon, knowing that so many people he loves are there to cheer him on!

  • 13.
    Jenny A said…

    Congratulations Simon! So very awesome! Congrats to you and Chris too for the awesome job you are doing as his supportive parents!

  • 14.

    Hooray, Simon!
    & Hooray, Ali & Chris!

    Sparkle right on into what is next, you guys ♥

  • 15.
    J Allen said…

    Wow! I love the other children “clapping” them out of 5th grade and into Middle School! Moved to tears with the thought!

  • 16.
    Janet Wight said…

    You rock, Simon!!!

  • 17.
    Nicolle said…

    This made my eyes water. So, so sweet. Thanks for sharing this, Ali. Go Simon!!

  • 18.
    krys72599 said…

    Thanks for sharing Simon’s “graduation” with us.
    I teared up and he’s not even mine!
    We’ve watched him blossom through your blog and we’re so very proud of him, too (not as proud as you all, of course, but so very proud nonetheless!).
    Can’t wait to see him as a 6th grader!!!

  • 19.
    Christy said…

    I actually think he behaved as many other kids would on this special, but nerve wracking, day. Job well done, mom! He looked great! congratulations to you all!!

  • 20.
    Tracy Smith said…

    As the mother of an ASD child who also just finished 5th grade and took part in something similar, that made me cry. Yay for Simon!

  • 21.
    Nicky from Okotoks said…

    So amazing – so proud of Simon!! Hard to leave those wonderful advocates behind. We are doing the same with Brody this year, so excited yet fearful if he doesn’t get the same support!!

    Way to go Simon.

  • 22.
    Jen said…

    What an achievement! Thanks for sharing and congrats to Simon!

  • 23.
    Jen N said…

    Go Simon Go!

  • 24.
    Deb J said…

    Way to go Simon. I know you are so happy with his progress.

  • 25.
    jenn shurkus said…

    whooo hoo simon!! so awesome :)

  • 26.
    annette said…


    Congratulations to all of you and especially to Simon. I have had these same feelings with my ASD dude, the unknown and leaving a place that felt safe and that offered so much to my son onn all levels,You will get through it. Love the walk to get his certificate (so reminded me of my dude, he did the same thing). I was just thinking this morning how does Ali do it? live in the moment as she does. I have a son with ASD also and I am already scared about the end of next year (last year of middle school starts in the fall). Middle school does bring new challenges, but also lots of room for growth :) It’s amazing to watch them as they embark on a whole new world… Simon will do so GREAT he has a wonderful support system and a family that adores him. He is one lucky guy and you are one lucky mom.. Thank you for including us all in your families life, Great job Simon

  • 27.
    Jeannie said…

    He certainly has come a long way and you are a testament to the persistence of advocating for your special child all the way through school. As a former special education teacher, I know how difficult that road is for parents, not to give up and to keep school accountable for their child’s progress and learning each and every year. Lots of grades left to go, but Simon is in good hands all the way around. Congratulations, Simon!

  • 28.
    Becky said…

    Congrats Simon. Ali, I cried like a baby at all 3 of my kids 5th grade graduations. It is the same here in Va. Beach that they start 6th grade in Middle School. So proud of all he has accomplished and he will bloom in Middle school.

  • 29.
    Laura said…

    Hurray, Simon!!! Glad it was such a good day and happy celebration. :) Love the clap out tradition. At our school, the kids move up after 4th grade, which, now that my daughter will be a fourth grader, seems awfully young!

  • 30.
    Cheryl Stone said…

    I can SO relate to it with you. My daughter with Prader-Willi syndrome just had 5th grader promotion last week. I can totally relate with the emotions, fear of next year and the total pride in them. Made me smile to read this.

  • 31.
    Jessica Mihm said…

    Ali, this made my eyes get teary. So sweet. I feel like I have seen him grow up through your pages and as a teacher, 5th grade promotion is so special, and usually makes me cry! Thanks for sharing this sweet moment of your life. Congratulations Simon! Hooray! (:

  • 32.
    Liz said…

    Congratulations to Simon! Thanks for sharing and while I understand all the love, commitment and support from Simon’s teachers, etc, don’t underestimate how amazing you are as a Mother to both him and Anna! You all deserve God’s richest blessings!

  • 33.
    Wendy Goundrey said…

    What a happy, emotion filled and inspiring post. Yay, Simon and his supportive family, for this great achievement!

  • 34.
    susan garner said…

    Congratulations to Simon. Congratulations to you as a family .

  • 35.
    JC said…

    Congrats to Simon and to you, Ali!!
    My 5th grader has his promotion ceremony next week and I’m spending this week thinking “how is this possible?!” What an incredible 6 years it’s been!

  • 36.
    Anita J. said…

    Way to go Simon! What a wonderful story you tell Ali … Simon will treasure this story for many years to come. One of my favorites though is the photo with Anna making a face. What a girl!

  • 37.
    Laura Moegenburg said…

    Can’t wait for the next chapter in Simon’s life – Dream Big Simon!

  • 38.
    Madeline St Onge said…

    Well you have me balling. He has come so far Ali. I am so grateful for wonderful teachers, there are a few in my grandchildren’s lift too. they make a difference. You go Simon onward and upward for you

  • 39.
    jengd said…

    Congrats to you all!

  • 40.
    KarynS said…

    Well done Simon!

  • 41.
    Kathy said…

    I know how you feel….I feel like that at the normal end of year assembly. I love the hallway clapping….it is such a simple gesture but has a huge impact and yes tears and emotion flow easily with these milestones for our kids. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane, Australia

  • 42.
    Paula said…

    Beautiful, wonderful and from my heart I wish Simon all the best life has to offer. Having an emotional day and this post just gave me lots of joy. Congratulations Simon and love your photo, Anna is priceless!!!

  • 43.
    Leanne in CA said…

    Yay Simon! Way to go!! Enjoy your summer and the beautiful weather with your family.

  • 44.
    Carolyn HP said…

    Love the photo & so happy to see Simon celebrate his accomplishments! Love hearing how the kids clap the 5th graders out! Hope the transition to middle school goes well! Way to go!

  • 45.
    Cindy said…


  • 46.
    J3SS1C4 said…

    That video is cute! Congratulations, Simon!! :) :)

    • ….
      J3SS1C4 said…

      Oh, and I love the family photo, especially how Anna is pulling a face! :)

  • 47.
    Ruth G said…

    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…

  • 48.
    Teresa Igo said…

    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!

  • 49.
    Christine said…

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

  • 50.
    Robyn :) said…

    Congratulations Simon!!!

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