Saturday, May 29, 2010

Tuffy's Seminary Graduation 2010

In our church, the youth have an opportunity to attend what is called Seminary.  It's a four year program that coincides with their school year.  The are released from the school for one class period to receive religious instruction.  They start in 9th grade and then complete it their Senior year.

For those of us in Utah, the release time is during the school day, and again is for one class period.  They generally walk across the school parking lot to the seminary building which is NOT a part of the school.  They do not earn school credit for this time, so they generally have to stay right on top of their other grades in order to reach all the credits necessary for school graduation.  In other areas of the country, and the world for that matter, they don't have the luxury of the release time during the school day, so Seminary is taught early  in the morning before school begins.  Either way, it is a sacrifice for the youth to do these classes.  They either lose sleep or miss out on other credits they could be taking to further their education.

My boys all went through the program.  In his Senior year, my oldest decided he didn't want to attend anymore, dropped out of the program and went on work release for his school credits instead.

At that time, Splenda and I decided maybe we wanted to add some incentive (or bribery if you must) for our boys to complete the program.  We feel strongly that their religious education is every bit as important as their secular education.  It's free, it's easily accessible, and we wanted them to accomplish this goal.  Our bribe incentive?

When they graduate, we treat them to dinner at The Roof.  I've mentioned this restaurant before.  It's beautiful, expensive and a rare treat.

This was hard for Tuffy.  First off, school is NOT his forte.  It's just not.  He's never liked it, never found it to come easy and has had to work harder than his brothers did.  He found himself short on credits late in his Sophomore year.  The only way for him to be able to graduate both high school and seminary would be to take early morning seminary for the last two years of school.  That sucks.  Being at the school and in his seat at Seminary by 6:30 am every morning.  I honestly didn't think he would do it.  But he proved me wrong.

And might I add, I never had to go wake him up to go.  He did it all on his own.  Both years.  Every morning.  He missed a few times, when he had worked the night before, but overall, the boy did it and did it himself.

Thursday night was the commencement exercise for Seminary.  They do a short program most of which consists if inviting the graduates to bear their testimonies of their seminary experiences.  Cold.Turkey. No warning.

Let me set the stage a little bit.  Tuffy is a very quiet kid.  Never likes the spotlight.  When he was little we couldn't even LOOK at him during a school program or he would burst into tears of embarrassment.  He's ever spoken in public before.  And most certainly never bore his testimony in public.

Who gets called?  You guessed it.  The one boy who would rather eat his own head than speak in front of a group of people.  Let alone share something so personal and spiritual like his testimony of Seminary and of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

My heart started pounding for him.  I think I was just as nervous as if it would have been me called.  His GF sitting next to me, began wildly tapping her fingers out of nervousness for him.

He killed it.  He didn't even SEEM nervous.  He brought a sweet spirit to the meeting.  Shared his heartfelt feelings, talked about how hard it was, but that he was able to stick it out and see it through.  I was proud of him for his clarity of mind and speech even though he was fighting back his emotions.  Certainly, was a moment that I will remember forever.

After the program, we grabbed a few quick pics out front, then headed to Cold Stone for some ice cream. 

Tres hombres

Tuffy and 'antanna

Mi familia

Grandma Sue, Grandpa John thanks for coming and supporting us.  Especially with the late notice!

Friday night, our reservations were for 8pm.  We got there a little early, and the sun was beginning to set.  They put at us the perfect table! 

We enjoyed some fabulous food and watched the sun set behind the Salt Lake Temple with Angel Moroni glistening in the evening sun.  Once the lights of the Temple came on, the view was even more beautiful.

The kids had a great time.  BB pounded down 60 shrimp among all the other things he ate.  GF - Antanna put away several pieces of Cheesecake and Tuffy tried lots of different and new things.  It was so fun.  Great kids, great food, great conversation, and a great view.  Couldn't have asked for a more perfect evening.

The boy and his besties!

Seriously?  60 shrimp?  Well done BB!

Besties in front of the temple, just can't see the spires so well

Pose like you are looking at the temple.  'Antanna's kind of sneaking her way out of the picture there on the left

And flop yourselves across the sofa like you've never seen soft velvet before

So, now that's it.  My youngest.  No more Seminary graduations.  I'll have to wait for my grandkids to be old enough to I can offer the bribe  incentive again.

And to my Tuffy - I know it was hard.  I know it sucked getting up early.  It's not easy to be asked to read your scriptures, and even share in class.  But you did it.  And you did it all on your own.  I hope that you are as proud of yourself as I am!

xoxoxo - ILYPI

Momma Cat


Mrs. Organic said...

Impressive! I only did early morning for one year, I just couldn't hack it and ended up dropping my electives in order to get some shut-eye.

Well done!

Anastasia said...


tammy said...

Way to go Tuffy!! Even though I am in denial about Taylor starting high school next year, I'm excited for him to be able to take seminary.


Congratulations Tuffy!! What a great accomplishment!

linda said...

As a mom, I feel like giving your Tuffy a great big hug right now! You must be one proud momma! Way to go Tuffy!

The view and photos from dinner were amazing. I'm not a member of your church but the pictures of the Temple still touched my heart and made me feel in awe of their beauty and power.

I loved this post!

Jenny said...

my oldest dropped out of both school and seminary. It makes me anxious to make sure that the 4 left in school will keep at it.

Gloria (The Mamafamilias) said...

I LOVE IT, LOVE IT, LOVE IT when these guys graduate from Seminary and I have seriously strong feelings about the power for good in attending Seminary. I congratulate him whole-heartedly.

Your boys look so HANDSOME in their white shirts and ties. You have a right to be proud!

One of these days, I'm going to make it back out to SLC so you must tell me the name of this restaurant, so I can experience the view of those temple spires at night.

Congratulations to you all! What a beautiful family.

Garden of Egan said...

That is awesomeness! Wow, is this your (dare I say) baby?

I loved your pictures. Such a good looking family.

Pedaling said...

wow, that is awesome!
what a treat to hear that testimony- how in the world did he dodge all those youth speaker talks?
sounds like the time was right for him- an opportunity to really share what he feels.
love those moments in life.
gave me chills.

tiburon said...

Way to go P-Dawg! Way to get up and rock the talk. Way to graduate. And tell BB he rocks for eating his weight in shrimp.


Chief said...


I had to do early morning as well. Ahem.. to make up for some sluffing.

My kid will have to do it too because the school he will go to doesnt offer it!

I still think you sound old. :)

Garden of Egan said...

HECK ya I missed ya! (I didn't want to use the h-e-l-l word cuz of your post about Seminary graduation and all)

You would have had a ton of fun being the dignified woman you are.
Uh, next year. You better be there!

Heather said...

Man, getting up for early morning seminary when all your friends get release time? That is IMPRESSIVE. What a good kid.

I've always wanted to eat at The Roof!! That is an awesome incentive. Your pictures with the beautiful sunset behind the spires has me thinking I may need to make that place my birthday wish.

Serene is my name, not my life! said...

Woot Woot! Way to go Tuffy!

I grew up with early morning seminary only ours STARTED at 5:50am.

Ya, tell me about it.

Super great post!

Mae Rae said...

Congratulations M-Cat. That is quite an accomplishment as a mom! You have some pretty amazing boys. A true testiment to you and Splenda.

Loralee and the gang... said...

Congrats! That is a HUGE milestone, and something he will never regret, for sure!

Sue said...

I am so proud of Tuffy..
That's awesome about graduating from seminary.But then to be asked to bear his! aren't you a proud mama!!

luv the Roof, and I luv this post♥