Several years ago, the idea to honor our PTM seniors with a banquet became a reality. After that first one turned out to be a successful night of love and celebration, a new tradition was born. Students fill tables with family and mentors- anyone they feel helped them make it to this milestone. Individual slide shows are created after hours of gathering pics of the students throughout their years at PTM. Grads are presented with a photo album full of hard copy pics as well, many of which they have not seen. A gift chosen just for them is presented. There is dinner, music, games and memories shared.
Some highlights through the years include:
- A student with a tough exterior breaking down in tears expressing words of gratitude
- Dwight Johnson and Thomas Rose of the band “The Rose Factor” bringing down the house with their rendition of “Oh! Happy Day!” while we all danced, clapped and sang along.
- The email full of gratitude from a mom the day after the banquet for how PTM staff and volunteers had loved on her children through the years.
- Tess Frohock’s calculation of how many slices of Papa John’s pizza she and students had shared together
- And this Thomas Merton poem a mentor read to her mentee:
My Lord God
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
The night before the banquet, several show up to arrange tables and decorate. And every year we bring irons and ironing boards and spend ALOT of time ironing the wrinkles out of white tablecloths. Definitely an act of love but not exactly what you think of as fun! This year a generous volunteer offered to purchase no-iron tablecloths! There are those of us who did not know such a thing existed. It is an amazing development!
Booker T. Washington said, “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.” Our seniors show up every year on that night having overcome many obstacles to get there- wrinkles, if you will…some we know about and some we never will. The lives of our students will never be “wrinkle-free” – no one’s life is but thanks be to God for the work He allows us to do that makes their life a less about wrinkles and obstacles and a little more about joy and hope for a brighter future.