The Academic Journey

The story behind the cap and gown

Congrats Lainie!

Dear Alaina,

Watching you work hard to tackle every challenge you've faced has been a blessing - there aren't many things that could make a parent prouder. We hope you know how proud us, Eve and everyone else is to honor the wonderful woman you continue to become. We hope this StorySpot shows you how impressed we are of everything you've accomplished. You will be the most amazing teacher ever. We're all lucky to know you and lucky to love you. 


Mom, Dad, and Eve


Images of the memorable moments

Congrats Alaina!


Our firecracker was born the summer of 1998, the best summer ever.


Alaina and Eve, sister and best friend. 1998


Beautiful Alaina, always loved the breeze in her hair! 2001


Laine and Grandpa Joe, July 4, 1999.


Happy Easter! Always loved dressing herself from an early age.


Alaina and her mother enjoy the beach. 2002


Always our little reader. Loves to learn! 2005


Master at piano from the age of 6, incredible girl! 2005


Fun memories with cousins. Lake Michigan, 2007


Alaina having fun with friends. Hiking in 2010.


Smarty pants always! Lovely Laine. 2011


Outdoor adventures with sister Eve. Oregon, 2012.


San Fransisco, CA with the cousins, 2012.


Ireland for her summer teaching program! 2014


Alaina is the best friend and listener. Lumineers concert, 2015.


High School graduation trip to celebrate with sister, Eve. 2016


Critterdon family reunion. Lake Michigan, 2017.


Alaina graduates from the University of South Carolina. 2020


Congrats Lainie, we love you!!


Stories of the graduate

Sister, Sister - Congrats!

Sister, Sister - Congrats!

Love, Eve

Congrats on your graduation sissy! There's no one else I would rather have as a built-in best friend. I have looked up to you since we were little girls and will always be inspired by the incredibly kind, brave, giving, and spunky gal you are. 

My favorite story of us is when we were younger and I got in huge trouble with mom and dad (have no recollection of what exactly I did). But anyways, you and I were sitting, playing in my bedroom and they came in all mad and you leaped to your feet and set me in the corner. You faced mom and dad (blocking me in the corner and shielding me from them) and told them firmly to leave me alone and back off. You wouldn't let up until they had left!

That courageous girl has protected me through and through. Your students will be lucky to have you!

Love you,


To my baby girl

To my baby girl


My fierce, bold, feisty daughter. You have always been the girl to fight for what you believe in and not take any crap. I will continue to admire that about you forever. I couldn't have picked a better career path for you than a high-school teacher...those guys better be ready for ya!

I remember all those mornings coming downstairs to see that you had turned our kitchen or living room into a classroom for you, Eve, and the neighbor kids. No matter how old the other kids were that were playing along, you were ALWAYS the teacher ;) 

I know hardships have come into our lives over the past few years and you have been a rock for the whole family. I look up to you Lainie. I love you dearly and cherish what a beautiful heart you have. Congratulations, time to celebrate you!

Daddy's little girl

Daddy's little girl


Lainers! Be bold, be brave, be YOU. 

I am so proud of my firstborn, baby girl. Kind like her mother, energetic like her father, but truly a mix all her own. Go change the world honey, I know you don't need any luck doing that. 



We are so proud of our special girl!

We are so proud of our special girl!

You make your nana and papa so proud!

"A granddaughter is a wonderful blessing
A treasure from above
She's laughter, warmth, and special charm
She's thoughtfulness and love

A granddaughter brings a special joy
That comes from deep inside
And as she grows to adulthood
She fills your heart with pride.

No words can describe the warm memories
The pride and gratitude too
that comes from having a granddaughter
To love and cherish...just like you."

- Love you very much: Nana June and Papa Rick

Happy graduation to the oldest Critterdon cousin

Happy graduation to the oldest Critterdon cousin

Memories from the Iowa family reunions


We all love you so much and are so thankful we have such a close-knit family. You feel more like an older sister to us than just our cousin. From running through the cornfields to playing house and teacher to biking around the neighborhood - the amazing memories, guidance, and lessons you have provided us are priceless.

We all agreed though that our favorite memories are from the family reunions at Nana June and Papa Rick's in Iowa. In particular the night they taught us the magic of fireflies and we chased them for hours and hours (way past our bedtime at that time), to see how many jars of fireflies we could catch. You had organized us into teams and set out a plan for different areas of the field. By the time everyone found us, we had collected so many mason jars and circled them in a spiral in the middle of the field - I remember the parents were speechless. It is still one of the most beautiful sites I have ever seen.

Love you with all of all of our hearts!

Jimmy, Elijah, Katrina, Sarah, and Clark


The benchmarks and highlights

Lainers was born

Date: Jun 3, 1998

Sister Eve is born, besties for life

Date: Feb 12, 2001

Kindergarten (and a love of learning) begins!

Date: Aug 1, 2003

Graduates 6th grade!

Date: Jun 6, 2008

Junior High School, Go Raptors!

Date: Aug 1, 2008 - May 3, 2012

High school baby! Go Chiefs

Date: Aug 1, 2012 - May 20, 2016

Attend and graduate from Uni of South Carolina!

Date: Aug 1, 2016 - May 29, 2020


The alma mater, the fight song, and all the jams in between