As I gather with my family at Sullivan Central High School for the graduation of my great nephew, Delfino Garcia IV, my mind is flooded with memories, the heaviness of nostalgia nearly taking my breath away. It wasn’t the recollection of my own high school graduation, but of….
Wait a minute!! Hold it!!! Go back!!!! Did I just say Del graduated???? Wasn’t it just a couple of years ago that I went to Glades General Hospital in Belle Glade, Florida to see this newborn infant?
And wasn’t it just a few months ago that he was starting elementary school???
Oh my goodness, where DID the time go??? It seems to me that he went from infant to a young man in the same amount of time that it would take me to blink!! What happened to the little boy who called me Parkay because he couldn’t say Glenda Kay, giving me the nickname that, to this day, he still calls me by?
While I was visiting, I took the time to sit down with Delfino (Delfy to me) and talk to him. I can’t tell you just how impressed I am with this young man. He is smart, gentle and kind, extremely intelligent, and also very handsome!
But he didn’t get to where he is all by himself, and most definitely not without his share of struggles.
“What, or who, do you attribute your success to?” I asked him.
“I wouldn’t be where I am without the foundation of family,” he told me. “Especially my mom.” (Stacy Garcia, my niece, daughter of Linda, my sister). “My family is everything to me and I couldn’t have done any of this without her, without them.”
(Jade Garcia (sister), Stacy Garcia (Mother), Delfino Garcia IV, Poppa Eddie Honeycutt, and Linda (Mimi) Honeycutt.)
Delfino graduated with a 3.8 GPA, receiving an Honor Diploma. Throughout his years in school, he received numerous recognitions and awards for essay writing, consistently being at the top of his class in academic achievements, and for being an honor student. Del scored a 27 out of 36 on his ACT, keeping him in the 99% for Seniors with above average grades. Quite an achievement in my opinion. (But, yes, I am biased). In addition to excellent grades, he also learned to overcome diversity because he was teased and made fun of for being “Latino,” or “a Mexican American.” I was sort of taken aback by this, even more so when he told me that even his friends had teased him about being Mexican. “How did you handle that type of bullying, which I clearly see as a form of racism?” I asked him. “It bothered me at first, but then I just got to the point that I didn’t listen to it anymore, or I would just laugh it off, because I knew that making good grades and finishing my education was more important than anything that any of them could do or say to me.” Have I mentioned that he is a very smart young man???
We talked about his plans for the future, which includes college at Northeast State Community College in Kingsport, Tennessee, where he will study Psychology. I had the pleasure of meeting his girlfriend also, who is just as much of a sweetheart as he is. I fell in love with her instantly. Alyssa (Allie) Mullins graduated with Del and will also attend the same college as him and will receive her degree in Dental Hygiene.
I asked Del to tell me one thing that he attributed his successful education to, besides his mom and his family. “Passionate teachers who were passionate about what they taught,” he answered, adding that “he is grateful to everyone who helped him along the way, and that were a part of getting him to where he is.”
(Delfy and his mother, Stacy)
“Education is important,” Del said to me. “It is such a milestone, and I value that a lot!”
Delfino’s dad, Delfino Garcia III, surprised him with a car for his graduation present, bringing it to him personally all the way from Pahokee, Florida. His grandparents, Carolina and Dino, came for this wonderful celebration, as well as some of his cousins. His aunt, Brenda Eidson, flew in from Texas, and I (Indiana) wouldn’t have missed it for the world!
(A touching moment as Allie, Stacy, Dino, Carolina and Linda watch Del walk to the stage to receive his diploma.)
(Del ready to receive his diploma)
His mom, Stacy, threw him a party after graduation at an Italian Restaurant in Bristol, Virginia, which was just across the Tennessee State Line. It was a simple gathering of family and friends, where we shared delicious food, laughter and made good memories.
I think it is safe to say that we are ALL very proud of Delfino, and all of us love him probably more than he will ever know. I couldn’t be happier that I am able to call this remarkable young man my nephew, and to have him as part of my family!!!
(Jade, Delfy and their dad, Delfino)
(Del’s graduation cake)
(Delfy and his Mimi)
(Delfy and his Aunt Brenda)
(Delfy and his Aunt Parkay – that would be me!)
Until next time….
Take care and God Bless~~~