Mathew Grant was still in his chair as his mother sitting next to him adjusted his black bowtie. He didn’t have long to talk. He was graduating.
“Unbelievable. I am just — unbelievable. I’m so thrilled I can’t stand it,” said the 18-year-old’s mother, Audrey Grant. “I’m beside myself.”
“It’s awesome,” said his father, James Grant, sitting next to his mother in a center aisle of chairs. Other area residents filtered in the church.
Mathew’s high school graduation from Wings Christian Academy on Friday, James said, marks 30 years to the day when he graduated from the academy himself.
In a room full of about 80 people, about 15 minutes before ceremony began, Mathew, of Soldotna, was the only graduate this year. He was a home school student.
Audrey said her son follows in the steps of her father and two sisters, who also graduated from the academy. Her father, she said, also pastored for a stint at the academy.
“Both sides of the family have been involved,” she said.
Before Mathew left his parents in the aisle, he said he was not sure what his plans were after graduation. He said he will likely get a summer job, and it could turn into a career, but he’s not sure. He may also look into college, he said.
“He’s very much a patient person,” Audrey said, after her son had left the room. “He’s talked to me and his dad about his ideas, but he doesn’t like to tell people until he’s made a firm decision.”
Mathew’s uncle sat along the back wall in a chair. “It’s crazy,” Larry Grant said. “He’s already taller than me. I have to look up to my nephew.”
“Shhhhs” began to wash through the room and children fidgeted in the corner rows as everyone prepared to accept the kindergarten class and, then, the high school graduate.
“It’s weird,” Larry said, his voice low as the kindergarteners entered the back doorway, their tassels hanging to the sides of their heads. “Mathew’s graduating, but my daughter’s going to turn 13 next year. Time flies.”
Dan Schwartz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.