My son, James David, graduated from kindergarten at Carlisle Elementary School on Wednesday.

The Carlisle faculty and staff conducted a drive-through parade to honor James and his classmates, since the coronavirus pandemic prevented the school from sponsoring an official graduation ceremony.

My beautiful bride, Malarie, along with our son, Brady, and daughter, Maggie Jo, enjoyed the parade more than James, who tends to become bashful when attention is focused on him.

Malarie utilized her artistic talents to decorate our car’s windows and rear windshield with messages celebrating James’ accomplishment. James told his mother the artwork embarrassed him. In fact, he asked Malarie to roll down the windows later when they went through the drive-through to buy a celebratory sno-cone.

James thrived this year in Shara Callahan’s classroom at Carlisle. Malarie and I looked forward to checking James’ binder at night to see what he learned that day.

While driving James to school on the first morning of the second semester in January, I asked him who he was eager to see. I expected him to mention his friends, but instead he replied, “Ms. Callahan.”

Ms. Callahan, Amber Young, Kim Garmany, Melissa Dunn, Kim Clark, Christen Payne, Heather Vaughn, Hope Harris, Lori Garmon, Clay Lee and Benita Blaker are some of the persons who interacted with James on a regular basis. I appreciate them and every Carlisle faculty and staff member who invested in the life of my son this year.

We’re looking forward to another great year when James begins first grade in August.

Shannon J. Allen is sports editor for The Reporter. He can be reached at

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