***image1***Due to continuing deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, many servicemembers with graduating seniors will miss graduation ceremonies this year.
This is a difficult sacrifice for deployed military and civilian families.
Department of Defense Dependent Schools – Europe has partnered with United States Army Europe and a number of other military and civilian activities to broadcast high school graduations to the desert.
DoDDS-E officials want to preserve and share the moment so that no deployed troop will miss this special event.
Through technology, a strong partnership with local commands, and the generosity of donors and volunteers, many deployed Soldiers will watch the ceremony and send personal messages to their children.
DoDDS principals are also soliciting e-mail messages from deployed Soldiers who have a graduating senior.
The intent is to include a personal message with each diploma that is presented to a senior with a deployed parent or loved one.
Dr. Barbara Ferg-Carter, principal of Ramstein American High School, said that all the students with deployed parents will wear yellow ribbons so that the cameras can zoom in closely when they go to the stage to receive their diplomas.
“It is important,” she said.
“We are going to wear yellow ribbons and he (his father) will see me,” said graduating RAHS senior Ismael (Giz) Mannai. “Then I will either talk to him on the telephone or we will email our special message with each other.”
Christopher Steel, Ramstein graduation senior, is hoping his father can come to his graduation, but, he said, “He was not able to go to either of my brothers’ graduations because he had already had to report to his new assignments. We are hoping he can make it, but if he can’t, at least he can see it later, and we will be together soon.”
Deanna Edwards is hoping that her dad may be able to come to graduation, but they already agreed that if not, they would do their normal e-mail and share their “inside” jokes with each other.
“I tell him funny things to make him laugh. He doesn’t worry about me so much when I do that,” she said.
The RAHS graduation televising is being sponsored by the 43rd Sig-nal Battalion at Pulaski Barracks and the 2nd Signal Brigade from Heidelberg.
A total of 14 DoDDS-E high schools in Germany are involved in the initiative.