Two years ago, Dad went back to uni to study to be a primary school teacher. He was one of the few men on the course, and also one of oldest students. But Dad didn't seem to be bothered by that. He studied hard, often working late in the night to finish an assignment. We hardly saw Dad some days, he was so busy. But all his hard work paid off, and, two years later, he graduated with a Master of Teaching (Primary) degree.
Mum and us girls went to Dad's graduation ceremony. It was great fun seeing Dad in his robes and mortar board. As we sat in the ceremony, we hunted for Dad with our eyes. Finally it was his turn to receive his certificate. We clapped and cheered like crazy.
After that, we were done with the university. After all, Dad had finished his degree, he had a job now, with a class of his own. There was no more need to even think about the uni. Or so we thought.
But then, a couple of months ago, a letter arrived in post for him, from his uni. We were all excited. What could it be? Dad opened it and looked a but shocked, right before he started laughing.
"What is it?" we asked him.
"I'm on the university merit list for finishing in the top ten percent of my intake," he laughed. "Who would have though it?"
We all felt very proud of him. He had done much better than most of the younger students.
Then, only a few weeks later, another letter arrived from the university. Again, we waited with impatience while Dad read the letter. He looked even more shocked than he had the first time.
"I've been awarded a Dean's medal," he finally managed to say.
We were ecstatic. Dad must have done really well. After a bit of research, we found he had finished in the top two percent of his intake.
"It will be presented in a special ceremony in June," Dad read.
Well, we could hardly wait for June to arrive.
Last night, Dad arrived home early from work. He and Mum changed into their smartest clothes, and headed out the door, bound for the presentation ceremony. We all waved them of waited eagerly for them to arrive back home again so we could see his medal.
Later that night, when the three younger girls were all in bed, they finally arrived back home. The first thing I wanted to see was Dad's medal. He handed it to me, all done up in a fancy velvet box. The box felt heavy in my hand, weighed down by the medal inside.
I opened the box and gasped as I saw the huge medal inside. It was about the size of an Olympic medal. It had his name engraved on the front, with the words, 'Dean's Medal', running around the edge. I took it out of its box and turned it over. The name of the university was engraved on the back.
Mum pulled her camera out of its bag.
"We've got to take some photos now," she said.
Dad posed for the photos, his medal in its box in his hand. I stood behind my and smiled. I was so proud of my Dad.
This morning the little girls all clamoured to see Dad's new medal.
"Wow, Charlotte said as she looked at it, which just about summed up what we all felt. Dad hadn't even known there was such a thing as a Dean's Medal before he received the letter. He just wanted to pass the course. Now we're all very proud of him, our Dad the Dean Medallist.