Posted by: សារ៉ា(Sarah) | December 9, 2012

Flashback, Part 2

As soon as we arrived home from Tob and Nico’s engagement, we rushed to prepare for the next big event, which was to be at 3:00.  I bathed and changed into clean clothes; I knew I’d never have a chance to do it after I went to the dorm.

When I arrived at the dorm, most of the Grade 12 students, several teachers (English and Khmer), and studio staff were working furiously to cut out decorations, blow up balloons, gather fresh flowers for various parts of the display, set up a working sound system and projector for a slideshow, organize chairs in two even columns with a nice aisle down the center, set up video cameras and special lights, tape things in various places around the room, and role diplomas and tie them with white satin ribbons.  That’s right!  At three o’clock, September 2nd, the first ever Wat Preah Yesu graduation would commence.  The teachers and students not present as part of the set-up and decoration crew were part of the cooking crew helping Jive.  At about five minutes to three we chased the students out to go change their clothes (some were wearing scrubby jeans and ragged t-shirts for the decoration process), and at 2:59 we put the last item in place.

Jive (after she finished cooking) and Laura preparing WPY diplomas and L.I.G.H.T. certificates for the graduation. This is our only picture we have of set-up. Everyone was so busy we all forgot to have the cameras handy!

Part of our camera crew.

The ceremony was lovely, but I’ll let you see it in photographs.  I was so proud of them all, every single 12th grader there – I know how hard they all worked, and I saw how hard they all struggled at times, and I witnessed the tremendous victories they gained during our year together.  Enjoy the pictures.

Tim sharing the graduation address with Teacher Yarith translating to Khmer.  The student-chosen theme was “Light in the Darkness.”

Graduates listening carefully to the admonitions and commission. (Front row, left to right: Chou, Chantha with Pisei behind, Sameth, and Lucky with Sophear behind)

Each student was able to share a little testimony about how their time at WPY, especially this last year, changed their lives. This is our sweet little Nea.

Teav sharing her testimony.

The students specifically requested that their teachers sing the song “Trust His Heart” for part of the graduation program. (Left to right: Kathleen playing the guitar, Jive, Donna, Laura, Gemma, and Sarah)

Sophear sharing his testimony.  He apologized for being such a naughty student, which made us all smile.  He certainly was the quiet prankster in our class!

Tob’s testimony – just love that smile! She was our not-so-quiet prankster.

We even had parent responses – Saram’s mother represented the parents of our village students.

Tim, as director of SALT Ministries and principle of the school, presented the diplomas. Chou decided to be very western for her photo.

Chhorvy was very traditional.

Sameth was also traditional, in spite of himself. He is trying to learn western culture and apply it in his daily life because he someday hopes to travel to other countries and speak of the great need for people to come help.

The graduates singing.  Grade 12 always loved singing, and this was reflected in their graduation.  They opened the ceremony with their class theme song, “Go Light Your World” and their translations of the Scripture song 2 Corinthians 4:6-9.  Later in the program they sang two songs, both of which they wrote.  One was about studying (and sleeping and playing) in class, eating green mango and chili, charcoal and powder parties, and how they’re not just friends but family.  The second song was a surprise for all the teachers – it was entitled “Gomenasai” (sp?), which means “I’m sorry” in Japanese.  In the song they apologized for being late to class, disruptive in class, not always studying as hard as they should, and making life difficult in general for their teachers; but they also thanked us all for being not just teachers, but friends who they could come to at any time with any need.  We were very surprised and blessed by their thoughtfullness.

Four of our six boys. Left to right: Pisei, Chantha, Lucky, and Sophear. Rachou was not there, and Sameth has a real phobia for cameras.

All of our girls. Left to right: Savorny, Saram, Teav, Nea, Niet, Tob, Sokea, Chhorvy, and Chou.

Students and teachers together.  Front row, left to right: Sarah, Laura, Lucky, Sophear, Donna, Gemma, and Jive.  Back row, left to right: Chantha, Savorny, Saram, Teav, Pisei, Nea, Niet, Tob, Sokea, Chhorvy, and Chou.

Excited and happy graduates – Niet, Chou, and Teav.

After the ceremony, all the teachers, Grade 12 students, and even the entire Maddocks family found a place to sit in the wooden house.  What for?  To eat, of course!  We enjoyed fruit, cookies, popcorn, punch, and the other delectable items Jive and the others prepared, along with leftovers from Tob and Nico’s engagement party which they donated to the class for all their help.

Eating together in the wooden house.

(To be continued.)


  1. Awwwwwwww thanks for sharing this Sarah! I wish I would’ve been there! I am so proud and happy for all of them!

    • Olga, we truly missed having you there…several of the students mentioned how it would have been perfect if only you and Andrew could have been there, too.

      • Thank you for sharing.

  2. thank you Sarah & Laura, I just now had time to sit and read and be blessed by the graduation…..

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