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How It All Turned Out: A Kindergarten Story, 13 Years Later

Sam Marsenison (second from right) and family accumulate in jubilee on a eve of Sam’s graduation during Puerto Sagua, a favorite Cuban grill in Miami Beach.

Zak Bennett for NPR


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Zak Bennett for NPR

Sam Marsenison (second from right) and family accumulate in jubilee on a eve of Sam’s graduation during Puerto Sagua, a favorite Cuban grill in Miami Beach.

Zak Bennett for NPR

Today we’re going to refurbish a story we first brought you behind in 2004. That September, NPR set out to request what competence be a many critical day in any immature child’s life — a initial day of kindergarten. For relatives it’s a day filled with hope, stress and one large question: Is a child ready?

The answer behind then, as distant as 5-year-old Sam Marsenison was concerned, was “No, no, no!”

Back in 2004, Paul Marsenison, with immature Sam during his side, listened earnestly during an march event for new relatives .

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For his parents, Paul and Maryanna Marsenison of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., it was tough vouchsafing go too. They had spent weeks, if not months, scheming themselves. But on that day, Sam finished it unequivocally transparent that he wanted no partial of his new school, Virginia Shuman Young Elementary.

Sam lunged towards Maryanna and wrapped his small arms around her waist, tears rolling down both their faces.

In a background, a principal was on a PA complement with a not-so-subtle warning: It was time for all kindergarten relatives to leave. Immediately.

And now it was Maryanna, not Sam, who didn’t wish to let go. For a while it seemed that even a tractor couldn’t lift her away.

Thirteen years later, Sam says he usually has deceptive memories of a play that unfolded on his initial day of kindergarten. Now 18, he’s grown into a tall, large immature male with his mother’s eyes and olive brownish-red skin.

A few days ago Sam graduated from Fort Lauderdale High School and will shortly be off to college. Sam is good wakeful that his relatives are anxious, wondering — again — possibly he’s ready.

The start of classes brought a possess stresses for 5-year-old Sam Marsenison.

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“My relatives are promulgation me opposite a state to go live by myself,” he says, “which I’ve never finished before.”

Sam is headed for Tallahassee Community College, about 460 miles north of Ft. Lauderdale. His grades weren’t good adequate to get into Florida State University, yet Sam hopes to send there, presumption he takes his studies severely and his grades improve.

Paul, his dad, has his misgivings: “I don’t have certainty that he’s going to take (his studies) severely in a beginning.”

Maryanna disagrees. “I consider he will. Because he’s finished a lot of flourishing adult this past half year.”

Throughout high school, Paul and Maryanna struggled to get Sam to work hard, to consider about his future.

“A year ago he did not even wish to go to college,” says Maryanna.

Maryanna and Sam Marsenison poise for a print before Sam’s graduation.

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Maryanna and Sam Marsenison poise for a print before Sam’s graduation.

Zak Bennett for NPR

At one point, Sam talked about fasten a military.

Sam of march has listened all this speak before, and he’s told his mom and father hundreds of times: “I’m unequivocally prepared and I’m assured I’m going to do well.”

At Ft. Lauderdale High, a few teachers who got to know Sam saw him as an normal student. The one thing he seemed ardent about was fishing — generally with his dad.

“Not each weekend, yet we’d go utterly a bit,” says Paul. “And we consider that has given him a extensive volume of self-confidence.”

Paul is assured that being out on a H2O builds character. It’s one thing that seems to truly bond Sam and his father. Paul says that’s what he’s going to skip many when Sam, his “fishing buddy,” is gone.

Paul helps Sam with his tie before graduation.

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Paul helps Sam with his tie before graduation.

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Listening to Paul reminds me of how strongly he felt 13 years ago about lifting a fearless, assured child. It was critical to him, for example, that 5-year-old Sam learn to float a propagandize train by himself. Here’s a approach Paul put it behind then:

“We have to put him on a bus. Get him on a train and shake him adult a small bit,” he told me. “Make him consider on his feet a small bit.”

To this day, Maryanna is a hand-holder while Paul is a one pulling Sam to be some-more independent. It’s been a tug-of-war of sorts.

With usually a integrate of hours before graduation, a Marsenison home is abuzz with aunts and grandparents from out of town. we lift Sam off to a side to ask him how he’s feeling.

“I know we could’ve pushed myself harder, complicated more, finished better,” he says.

Paul and Sam expostulate to Sam’s graduation.

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Paul and Sam expostulate to Sam’s graduation.

Zak Bennett for NPR

I ask him: Do we consider we have to infer to your father and your family that you’re prepared to work tough and have a splendid future?

“I don’t consider we have to infer it to them,” he responds. “It’s what we wish for myself, so I’ll do whatever it takes.”

Heck, we competence even work for my dad’s construction business some day, Sam says with a chuckle.

I have a feeling Paul would unequivocally like that.

Sam crosses a theatre to accept his diploma during his high propagandize graduation during a Broward Center for a Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale.

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Sam crosses a theatre to accept his diploma during his high propagandize graduation during a Broward Center for a Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale.

Zak Bennett for NPR

Right now, though, a graduation rite awaits. First, Sam needs assistance with his tie. He has no thought how to put one on and his father wasn’t most assistance either. No problem: His mom is there to help.

Maryanna still can’t trust her small child has grown adult so big, so fast. She tries to reason her emotions in check, suggestive of how she attempted to reason behind tears on Sam’s initial day of kindergarten.

“Yeah, there’s going to be tears, again,” she says. “The emotions are a same. But I’m some-more assured since he’s a genuine chairman now. He’s a person, we should say. He was my baby.”

Sam only sighs: “They don’t wish to let me go,” he says. How does that feel? “It feels good that they’ll skip me.”

It’s time. The whole family, aunts and grandparents, fist into a dual family cars and make their approach to a Broward County Center for a Performing Arts, where Sam and some-more than 500 of his classmates will accept their diplomas.

As Sam walks opposite a theatre with diploma in hand, Paul and Maryanna smile.

Their 5-year-old after all has incited out to be a healthy, happy immature male with a good heart. Yes, a late-bloomer, perhaps, yet someone they trust will one day make them even some-more unapproachable than they are tonight.