Graduation party for foster children - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Graduation party for foster children

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WATERLOO (KWWL) - Some eastern Iowa high school seniors were the guests of honor at a public graduation party Friday night.

The party was for students involved in the foster care system - teenagers who sometimes get left behind when it comes to throwing big parties in their honor.

Friends, parents, teachers, professionals, even some elected officials came out to Hawkeye Community College to say congratulations and offer them support as they begin a new life - out of the system.

Zachary McCauley is graduating from Waterloo's East High next week.

He's ready to go to college.

"Can't wait to get the summer started and get ready for college. That's my new goal - preparing for it," said McCauley.

McCauley's been with his foster family for 5 years.

He's glad he spoke to a teacher about an abusive parent when he did.

"Foster care is really good. It's a second chance for people that really need it and without this, I honestly don't know where I'd be at. It's a really huge, really important thing and my life has changed because of it," said McCauley.

McCauley and 8 other foster kids got the chance to celebrate their high school graduation or other accomplishments with a big party.

"We just wanted to let them know how special they are and we didn't want them to go into the adult world and now know this was something really special and we really acknowledge it," said Janet Lyons, Cedar Valley's Promise Director.

So along with cake, punch, and balloons, the teenagers met with people who can help them with the next phase of their life.

After 18, there are no foster parents and sometimes, no older mentor to guide them into adulthood.

"So many of them are excited to be on their own that even though we tell them there are people out there today that are gonna help them, they're so excited about being on their own, they don't remember this," said Lyons.

Zachary McCauley will remember.

Now, he's the first member in 3 generations of his biological family to graduate from high school.

"It's been really good with ups and downs here and there but I'm graduating! And getting ready for college!" said McCauley.

Mccauley says he'll probably attend Hawkeye or the University of Northern Iowa in the fall.

Cedar Valley's Promise helped secure the donations to throw the party.

It helped pay for gifts, cakes and senior pictures for some of the kids.

Online Reporter:  Bob Waters

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