This spring is graduation season, and I take pride In two cousins – sisters Rory and Lauren – who are finishing Southridge High School in Beaverton, Oregon, with flying colors and earn their diplomas in June. I also celebrate another cousin, Max, who received a bachelor of art’s degree in math and physics cum laude from Lewis & Clark College out here in Portland last weekend. But this post is dedicated to a dogged achiever bearing the Loika name: my nephew, Sean Paul Loika Englert.
Sean is 49 years old. After dropping out from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas 30 years ago, surviving a spirited youth and eventually moving to Brooklyn, Iowa, he dedicated himself to the many sacrifices, lack of sleep, and who knows what else to complete a higher education. On Sunday, May 19th, he receives a bachelor of art’s degree in social work summa cum laude from Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, a 65-mile commute from his home.
How he managed to attend all his classes, write several scholarly papers, commute and excel in school while holding down a full-time job – and a budding romance – is a true miracle more than a measured achievement measured by Sean’s grades. Every paper he turned in, he worried whether his grades were good enough.
They were. Sean excelled in school with a 4.0, so on Sunday, May 19th, Mount Mercy will award Sean Englert his degree.
However, one day before his baccalaureate, Saturday, May 18th, Sean will marry Leslie Stanley, a woman who shares his wry sense of humor. The forevermore commitment will take place – believe it or not – in the Brooklyn Memorial Cemetery at 3 pm.
A marriage ceremony in a graveyard? Perhaps it’s indicative of how Sean worked himself to death preparing for this weekend. But he’s still ambulatory, right?
I commemorate this noble accomplishment filled with sweat, worry, planning, carrying on a romance and displaying the right household sensibilities to sweep Leslie off her feet.
Sean, I admire you. Congratulations!