Being part of a Calo graduation is quite a remarkable experience. The entire ceremony takes you on a journey of reflection, growth, gratitude, and hope. It is always a pleasant surprise at the level of vulnerability and connection that the entire Calo family (students, staff, parents, administration, etc.) feel when a graduation takes place.
The ceremony begins with an explanation of the meaning of graduation and the value of what it represents. This value is based upon the emotional and behavioral evidence that the student has been able to demonstrate through their ability to make productive decisions for themselves (Trust of Self) and recognize their own worth within meaningful relationships (Interdependence). Meeting this standard of graduation means that the student has shown consistency with regulating their emotions and behaviors while being able to authentically repair relationships. The students themselves need to feel that they have achieved enough proficiency and have the right skills and tools to live interdependently outside of treatment. All of these factors combined with parents/guardians and students feeling genuinely Safe within the relationship (based upon time and evidence) and culminate in being ready for graduation.
As the ceremony proceeds, the staff and students take time to reflect on the growth and progress the student, and family, have made since entering into treatment. This is often filled with laughter and tears, due to the intimate relationships which have been experienced. This reflective time continues with the parents/guardians verbally walking all present through the incredible journey which the family has been on. It becomes a moment of authentic vulnerability and gratitude for the relationship which has developed/restored, and hope for things to come.
The slide show then provides a visual glimpse into the students journey while at Calo. The room becomes filled with laughter and awe as the range of photos go from warm embraces with canines to an intimidating rock decent. As the slide show ends, the student provides their own reflection of growth, resistance, joy, and hope. Their words resonate with all who can hear and the other students observing become motivated by an example of perseverance and growth.
The ceremony concludes with the presentation of the Graduation Certificate and the Calo coin by the therapist. All present instinctively applaud and a time of congratulations and goodbyes commence. The graduations are a remarkable experience and become a distinctive moment of accomplishment for not just the student and family, but the entire Calo family.