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Our 11-year-old niece has made the Honor Roll, and that fills my heart with joy.

She delivered the news with all the solemnity of a university professor at lecture.

“There can’t be any cheering,” she said of the ceremony announcing Honor Roll.

One parent clapping, that’s all the school would permit each student, she added.  No other relatives allowed.  Some mother had screamed her head off one year when her dear child’s name was announced, and that was the end of the public show of congratulations, apparently.

I tried to be solemn when our niece delivered this news.

Congratulatory hugs were out of the question.  This girl was a Tae Kwon Do black belt long before straight-A report cards.

“You scare me,” I giggled, when she told me about her black belt.

She pretended to look annoyed.  We resumed playing games on her smart phone. Her favorite? Hangman. We played and played. This girl has so much energy, I told her she’s convinced me of the benefits of Tae Kwon Do.

I tell you, she’s so smart I just know she will be whatever she wants to be, and will pursue whatever career she chooses. I’m confident she’ll make the world a better place.

How can I be so certain?

She already does.