Perseverance and fortitude.

There are so many words I could use to describe my son, but I think perseverance and fortitude rise to the top. He is completely self-motivated and holds himself to a standard that few could attain.

On Wednesday, my son Ty graduated from the College of Chemistry at UC Berkeley with highest honors. I’m so incredibly proud of everything he’s accomplished, it hasn’t been an easy road.

Some long-time blog readers may remember reading about Ty in this blog post from 2007, when he was 13 years old and in an origami exhibit at Columbia College in Chicago. That was pretty much his pinnacle in origami, before he moved on to conquering percussive flamenco guitar, writing music, theater, and teaching himself 3d graphics and computer game design. Developing his creative passions was one of the benefits of homeschooling (or unschooling which is mainly the way we worked) before moving on to his serious academic pursuits.

To be honest, he’s not convinced unschooling was the best option for him, since he’s had to compete alongside students who went to the best schools and had incredible scientific research opportunities before entering college. He feels like he’s been at a disadvantage and had a lot more ground to cover.

That may be true in many ways, heck he’s at the best school of chemistry in the country of course the students will be exceptional, but I hope someday he’ll realize that because of that long exposure to developing his creativity and problem-solving skills, that he’ll have more interesting career opportunities available to him when he eventually enters the job market, because of his alternatively rounded education. He knows how to think outside the box! I have no worries about his success, but I know he does.

Anyways, while my parents and I were waiting for the graduation ceremony to begin we noticed this in the program.

He never told me he was giving a speech!!! Holy cow, my heart swelled with pride. He confidently spoke to an audience of several thousand about his background, challenges (not having a high-school diploma, and ending up homeless during his first semester…) and other experiences at Berkeley, with the over-riding theme of learning to fail. My eyes well-up just writing about it.

What an amazing, hard-working, creative, intelligent and articulate young man he has become. He’ll continue his research and lab work in Berkeley over the next year, before applying to grad school. I couldn’t be any prouder.


My next post will be the first of several about my recent trip to Germany to have an exhibit and teach at the Nadelweldt quilt and textiles show and travels.

Keep creating,


I’d love to spark your creativity at one of these upcoming events:

June 1-2 Meissners, Sacramento, Blooming Inspiration

July 27-28 Meissners, Santa Rosa, Blessings in the wind; mixed-media prayer flags

August 14-18, 2018 Woodland Ridge Retreat, WI
5 – day Paint and Print-a-palooza retreat

October 19-21 Ephemera Paducah, Paducah, KY
Tea and Ephemera and Blessings in the wind: mixed-media prayer flags

October 27 Meissners, Sacramento, Fiesta Ornaments


IMG_5538Judy is an artist, explorer, image wrangler, knowledge seeker, instructor, speaker, creative alchemist, and purveyor of inspiration, helping others channel creativity on a daily basis.

10 Responses to “Perseverance and fortitude.”

  1. Congratulations Judy and Ty! What a wonderful surprise he kept for you, Judy! It is absolutely wonderful to see children grow into confident and competent young adults!

  2. jennyklyon says:

    Judy I love this-you must be so proud! What a testament to perseverance, fortitude and choosing a Good Mom.

  3. PiTTo says:

    Oh yeah, you can be so proud, Judy! This is fantastic!
    You‘ve told us the story of your life with all the strenuousness on stony grounds.
    And this is a result of it: It is often better for our children and their lifes not to have it too easy.
    Congrats to the mother and to the son from the middle of Europe!!!
    Peter & Barbara

  4. jeannievh says:

    I am so proud of Ty and I’ve never met him. LOL! I remember reading your blog and the adventures of raising two creative kids. You done good! I am with you on being able to think outside the box. I was in a math centric profession, but because I also used my creative brain parts, I was much more successful than those with advanced degrees. It is good to use all the parts of the brain, not just the logical and linear. Congrats to all!

    • JudyCoatesPerez says:

      At this point Jeannie, it pretty much feels like you’re family too, lol. and it’s even nicer to share this news with people who have been following our journey.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.