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Challenge: Class of 2020

Double disappointment but double love

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The year 2020 was supposed to be an incredible, celebratory year for our family. Both our children, Jared and Zoe, will graduate this May. One from college and one from high school. These two have a special bond that most siblings would envy. It didn’t start that way. Jared, the oldest, was so excited when the doctor accidentally told him he had the baby brother he wanted so badly. “No girl brothers” was his motto. His sister was born unexpectedly 15 weeks premature. The chaos in the delivery room contributed to the doctor’s confusion. After accepting a little sister named Zoe (and not Cottontail like he had chosen), he was the ultimate big brother. Washing his hands constantly in the NICU, making sure the dog didn’t trip on her oxygen tubing at home, playing the magician at her tea parties, and even saving her from almost being hit from a driver that failed to stop for the bus stop sign. She returned the brotherly love by beating him with her teeny fists when she was mad at him. Eventually his kindness wore her down and they started a caring sibling relationship, one that usually erupted into laughter. Jared will graduate from FAMU with a degree in interdisciplinary studies with a focus on Biology and a minor in Food Science. He has participated in melanoma and breast cancer research on campus and is a member of the first HBCU fishing team. Zoe is a 4 year high school cheerleader (despite being diagnosed with mild cerebral palsy at age 3), a 4 year cellist for the school orchestra, a member of NHS, and one of 5 members of the Central Florida winning Envirothon team. Both have volunteered as junior coaches for special needs cheer. Zoe will graduate Summa Cum Laude and plans to study chemical engineering (with a goal to improve the environment) at the University of Florida. They may not get to walk their graduations when originally expected, but at least they will be together. And we will celebrate!


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