|Rosette on the far right, 2011|
|The two of us being competitive, 2012|
|With Team member Leah, 2013|
|Graduation day, with Melissa, 2015|
I told Rosette one night, after we had just binge-watched a ton of Glee episodes at Melissa's, that she was like a daughter to me. I meant it. She's always had a very special place in my heart.
The first time I met her was in 2006. I watched her sing and dance one afternoon and was blown away by her electric stage presence, even in a dingy, dark, damp metal container (the library). She had a smile that lit up the entire place. I learned that her mother had died of AIDS in 2006, and her father had died in the civil war of Northern Uganda when she was much younger.
During my next visit in 2007, she quickly made her way toward me with a crumpled note in her hand. She pressed it into mine, asked me to read it and then stepped politely to the side to wait for my response. It was a letter asking if she could be sponsored by Change the Truth, please. Please.
Well, one year has rolled into the next, and I have watched this lovely girl mature into a gorgeous woman. She's had emotional ups and downs. She's been confused about what to make of her opportunities. She's been moody and grumpy. We've had long talks about the typical stuff adolescents grapple with. She's been disagreeable and argumentative. She's also been as sweet as molasses. She's been sad, but then she somehow manages to turn on a light in her eyes and in her smile, and it knocks you out. Her dancing and singing have gotten rave reviews from CTT team members (you could be on Broadway, Rosette! Really!). She's the one who has always taught everyone how to make the banana fiber dolls. She's the one who volunteers to help clean a room or assist a younger child or wipe the tears from a crying TEAM MEMBER. There is a huge heart housed in that petite frame of hers. She's fierce, feisty, curious and determined, and she won't hesitate to say: don't get in my way, please. She's competitive. She's sensitive. She expects a lot from herself - and from those around her. She makes friends at the drop of a hat. She likes to laugh.
Today Rosette graduated from vocational school. Her certificate is in Travel and Tourism. At the beginning, Rosette wanted to be a professional dancer/performer, but once the educational ball got rolling, she was encouraged to come up with some other, more practical ideas. She tapped into her love of meeting people from different countries and cultures and her desire to travel the world, and that's when she decided to pursue travel and tourism. She fancies herself as a flight attendant or tour guide. We believe she'd be great at either. Her outgoing, sparkling personality and her grit and determination will help her land just where she wants to be.
Congratulations on your graduation, Rosette. We are so proud of you.