It was almost 12 years ago. I met Lera as a 1st grader. My mom was assigned to be her aide at school, and had immediatley bonded to Lera so they ended up spending lots of time together. Lera had come to the US with her family from Russia, and my Mom was tasked with helping her, as a one on one tutor, grasp the english language. I remember hearing all about Lera before I actually got to meet her. My Mom would rave about the child she was working with, how she was picking up English so quickly, how she was so smart, holding her own in her 1st grade classroom full of fluent English speaking children. She was sweet and beautiful and smart. So smart. All these years later Lera is still all of those things. Beautiful, smart, kind, sweet. She kicked butt all through school and will be starting college this fall, wanting to eventually be a doctor. I have watched her grow more and more beautiful every year. I was so excited when she wanted to do Senior photos. Mom and I made a little day out of it with Lera, pro makeup, then a 2 hour photoshoot, us being so incredibly proud of all she’s accomplished we were happy to spend the day doing it. Lera, you are going to do amazing things in this world. I am so glad I got to watch you grow in to such an incredible woman. (A special thanks to my friend and incredible makeup artist Paulina Perez for her beautiful work).