“Please hold your applause until the last student has crossed,” says the dean in his careful accent. “Hector Alvarez!”
Hector steps double-time to the oomp oomp of the brass, grips firmly, and exits the stage with a diploma and a hushed audience. So too do his classmates, until it comes to Diego–whose cousin can’t strangle a whoop of proud glee.
After that each family dares a little more, and before the dean presents the class, the place is a roaring, stomping tide.
“Hey,” says his awkward dad, outside. “Sorry we didn’t–”
“I totally understand,” says Hector, who totally understands.