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Overcoming obstacles

I am one of the happiest and proudest woman in the world today because today is the day my twin daughters graduate high school. You may not have read our story where we tried to get out of a bad marriage and ended up in abject poverty with almost nothing left but each other.

Today, we show what hard work, determination, strength as a family and believing in each other can accomplish against the odds.

Today, my daughters proudly accept their high school diploma and honors cord as a symbol of their hard work and dedication through the years and believing in the power of their dreams.

Today, they had to borrow the graduating costume since we could not afford our own.

Today, they had to accept this embarrassing lack of money and swallow their pride since we almost chose to stay home because we could not afford to buy them their own. To get the honors cord you have to walk in the ceremony so we wondered how to accomplish this.

We thought we were getting the native dividend money this last week but I got the dates wrong and it wont come until next month. We had accepted the fact that we could not attend and since they are a bit shy also felt a bit relieved about it but sad because they saw how I loved my oldest daughter's yellow cord showing the results of her years of hard work.

They worked so hard and had so much negative stuff going on in their lives and turned that into the drive to achieve their dreams. It may not seem like such a big thing with thousands of other girls also graduating this year alongside them but not many others have been to Hell and back and still shine so brightly.

To all the moms and daughters out there, if we can do this then you can too with pulling together as a family and letting the love you feel for each other give you strength day after day!

My face is aglow with pride and my smile can blind you today! all our love,



JaniceW's picture

Am so happy for you all

Maria, through love, support and courage, you have raised an amazing family who today reveal just a part of their potential. I know that each of your daughters fill you with pride in their unique and individual ways, and today it's the twins turn. I am grinning like the proverbial cheshire cat at your happiness and their achievements. Please give them both a big hug from me and extend my congratulations. Ceremonies are nice but what they have accomplished does not need a public ceremony – they have achieved something they will carry with them for the rest of their lives and that's what is important today. Every friend you and the girls have made on PulseWire stand shoulder-to-shoulder with you today, congratulating the twins and wishing them all the very best for their future. Love to you all....

jap21's picture

Cheers dearest Maria!

I am so happy to hear about the graduation! Please hug the girls a big bunch. Tell them we are all so proud in here. Tell them they are part of this community too. Tell them we are here for them. Things like having no money when its needed, do happen, but awesome things like graduating with honors don't just happen: they are a construction and a result of your love and care, in everlasting circles.

Many new, brighter days await the people who stand up and proudly show their work to God. Trust me, He sees you, as we all do, as shining bright stars of the World Pulse Women's World (all of you).

To us, your dresses are made from the gold of true love, and your presence in the field is surrounded by fireworks that shine all over the world through Pulse Wire, World Pulse team, VOF Applicants, VOF fans and VOF classroom, whose members are applauding, cheering and filled up with joy. with no time at all to think about clothes....

Today, the twins are the center of the world, and we bow to them as a sign of respect for their hard work.

The best in the future awaits ready to be yours.

Hugs and love,


Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva
Tarija - Bolivia
South America

Maria de Chirikof's picture

We just got back

We just got back from the ceremony. One graduated Cum Laude and the other Magna Cum Laude, I am so happy. As a special surprise thing they had the "President's Education Awards Program" in recognition of Outstanding Academic Excellence, both got Gold awards. I am thrilled and the oldest wishes he had been president when she was graduating last year.

One of them felt like it was a bit phony and wanted to so badly stand up and say something about Alaskan Natives but you have to have your speech prepared way beforehand and let the lady see it first so she couldn't and it irritated her. She felt very frustrated about it and I said not to worry that we will change things where instead of how they always say 'there was nothing here before' that they will be more correct and say that the Alaskan Natives were here and revered and respected the land so there were not cheaply built buildings everywhere.... It bugged her a lot so I am going to make sure I work as hard as I can for the VOF training and help change people's perceptions.

It does drive us crazy sometimes though and she felt it strongly tonight. She sometimes feels like it will only ever be words instead of actions. So much good is happening in the indigenous communities and a huge effort is being made so maybe by the time her kids (if she has any) are graduating they will have the proper respect for the unspoiled lands and see the changes as if they were a bunch of locusts wanting to devour everything for themselves instead of thinking of future generations! This perception that destroying nature and polluting the earth is somehow "greatness" will be shown in it's true light one day! Keeping a balance and respecting the earth will become the way our children will think.

But today was a good day for us! I am so happy and glad that my work is now 3/4's done and I could not be happier or prouder of them!

Thanks Janice and Jackie for your hugs and good wishes! the girls will probably be on sometime but say to say thanks and they appreciate all the good thoughts of everyone!


JaniceW's picture

Speaking out for Native Americans

Woo-hoo! Cum laude, Magna cum laude and two gold awards – you must be beaming right now. I can understand why your daughter was not able to raise her voice at the ceremony but let us all hear what she wanted to say. After all, that's what PulseWire is all about – broadcasting the unheard voices. So, let her voice ring out.

She might also like to connect with OjibwayMigisi who, amongst other achievements, is the Columnist/Editor for the Aboriginal News Group and has a blog on Native American and Indigenous People's issues. She can be found at:

Congratulations again to the girls and way to go, Mom!

Dando's picture

Hi Maria

You are the best, and am very sure your daughters are very proud of you.

I can see you and your daughters are humble persons and i believe that one day your daughters will be the people you want them to be in life, may God guide, direct and increase his blessings on you and your beautiful daughters.

Best of Luck.

Maria de Chirikof's picture

Love the new picture

I love your new picture! So many are putting up new pictures for the VOF I have to double check to make sure who is who but it is great seeing everyone!

I am very proud of my daughters, all of them and look forward to watching them become adults and discover the world on their own terms!


Tina's picture


I had noticed your new picture too and was wondering where best to comment on it. I love this one. Here we get to see your full face - and what a lovely one it is too!

malayapinas's picture

Warm Congratulations to your

Warm Congratulations to your twins and to you! I'm so happy fo the three of you!

much love,

Maria de Chirikof's picture


The girls enjoyed their day of having free time to goof off all they wanted for a change. All 5 of us look forward to the future more then ever.


Jennifer Ruwart's picture

Hip Hip Hooray!

A huge congratulations to you and your daughters! What an amazing journey the four of you are on. What an honor to be joining you for part of it.


Jennifer Ruwart
Chief Collaborator
JR Collaborations

Maria de Chirikof's picture


thanks Jennifer! I was telling the girls that I look forward to seeing them graduate college next. My youngest does not want to be in the ceremony at all when it is her turn but I have tie to talk her into it (hopefully).

love, Maria

What a heart you have for your daughters, their successes, hearts, and paths. I am so glad you got to celebrate the day.
So very happy for you.


Maria de Chirikof's picture


I love how they still keep an open mind about which path to choose and I look forward to watching them develop their dreams!

hugs, Maria

Tina's picture

Congratulations To you all!

What a wonderful day and achievement for you all. It is so great how you remind your daughters not only of how proud you are of them, but also of how far you've all come.
ps - I didn't post my VOF love letter because I was embarrassed. I think I found writing a love letter to someone I'd never met before more difficult and intimidating than the first assignment we had on web 2.0!! Also, still getting my head around the fact I made it through to the next stage.

Maria de Chirikof's picture

the classroom

Have you been to the classroom yet? We are all feeling that way a bit I think! I will be by your side and offering any encouragement you need! A few found it hard, especially since we don't know them at all yet. I was just so excited that I wrote one right then and then worried mine will think I am a bit weird!

Look forward to seeing you more! love,

JaniceW's picture

Don't be shy

Tina, I know this is a difficult assignment as it feels so intimate and personal but you write so wonderfully and I want your mentor to get to know you as we have gotten to know you. Many members have written it outside of the classroom group first to see what others think so you might like to do that too. By getting feedback, I think you will become more confident. Know that it was because of your honesty and expression that you are one of the correspondents, and that is what drew us all to you as friends. So, take a deep breath and invite your mentor to get to know you too. We're all here cheering you on. Big hug,

Nusrat Ara's picture

Conrats! To you and the

To you and the girls. Keep it up.



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