Column – To the Moms of the class of 2024

Published 10:17 am Tuesday, September 26, 2023

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This one is for the mothers watching your first child’s last year of high school. Hugs to Kendra, Melissa, Mary, Kimberly, Cynetra, Lavone, Millicent, Angelique and every other mother who feels some kind of way every single morning that your child heads off to school. We finally made it to senior year. The Class of 2024 is our kids.

It’s hard to believe that September 2010 was actually 13 years ago. My daughter was so excited to start Pre-K. I remember her walking around Mrs. Karen Branson’s classroom at Oakland Elemantary School looking for her name plate on her desk during open house. I was slightly distracted trying to keep my eyes on Jenesis as Mrs. Branson gave me the parent scoop. She paused midsentence to ask, “Is she your oldest child?” I answered “Yes” affirming her suspicion. I was so ready for her to grow up but I wanted to watch every moment. Once school doors accept our young, we wait after the school bells ring to hear of the daily memories that we once witnessed day by day.

It all seems like a blur. I am silently looking for someone to blame because the days and months were authorized to move forward before I finished preparations for this last year of high school. Pictures of kindergarden, 3rd grade, 5th grade, 8th grade and so on confirm that the days have actually taken place and there are changes to that once little smiling face. It hit me just the other day as I was staring back at her senior formal photo looking back at me, “Wow, she is looking like a senior!” I said it outloud before I even realized it. I’m still keeping my eyes on her while she is figuring out where she belongs. Only this time it’s not as easy as Mrs. Branson made it by putting our children’s names on their desks. Over the next few months, the Class of 2024 will be figuring it out for themselves. Which university will open its doors to them and they accept?

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Just the other day the words to an old country song by singer, Willie Nelson ran across my mind as I thought about my daughter growing up. The lyrics said, “Mommas don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys.” I grew up in the southern Georgia and we loved country music. I still do. I used to sing this song swaying side to side, arm and arm with my sisters or classmates when we are joking around in school. I smiled to myself because it was a good memory.

Mothers always get a bad rap for not allowing our children to grow up. We are also accused of not allowing them to make decisions for themselves and for not giving them freedom to do what they want to do. We are told that we hold on too tightly. We are told to just let them be. 

As the Class of 2024 embarks on this journey of choosing the next location that will have a desk with their names on it, I wish to say to mothers “Mammas don’t let your babies BE afraid.” A mothers oversight is sometimes misinterpreted as fear for her young. Let your son or daughter, see you watching them intently with smiles of assurance and winks. Let them know that you are so proud that you have had a front row seat to their every milestone and it has been a beautiful motion picture to watch. Encourage your senior not to miss their shot and take every opportunity they have to put their name in the hat. Make sure they know that they should NEVER  disqualify himself or herself no matter what the naysayers and haters believe about them. Our children will believe in themselves because they will always have Mamma’s voice in their ears.. Make sure your high school senior documents memories this year and that they make good choices.. Above all else, Mammas be sure to be the loudest cheerleader on the sidelines. Don’t apologize for it. You can’t stop them from growing up. So, you won’t stop me for cheering along the way. 

Congratulations to all the parents and the Suffolk Education Community who are preparing the Class of 2024 to graduate. It is an exciting year. Don’t miss a thing!

QuaWanna N. Bannarbie is a Christian writer and teacher from historic Americus, Georgia.  Connect with her via Instagram @beingQuaWanna or send an email to: