The Graduate – The Legend of Ella Rae Hewlett

Ella Hewlett Graduation 2024 Herriman High School

 

“She’s got a way about her, I don’t know what it is, but I know that I can’t live without her.” – Billy Joel 

 

Thursday, May 30, 2024

We watched our eldest child and beautiful daughter, Ella Rae Hewlett, walk across the stage to graduate high school.

Candidly, we weren’t quite sure this was going to happen, due to many circumstances and challenges along the way (read on to learn more), and in that sense, it went from being a really neat day that most parents expect and experience with their kids, to truly one of surprise and celebration for our family.

 

Ella Hewlett Graduation 2024

 

Ella Hewlett Graduation 2024 with Dad

 

“She’s got a light around her, and everywhere she goes A million dreams of love surround her everywhere.” 

 

We are walking along the beach in California, hundreds of miles from home, suddenly a group of people come running and screaming, “Ella! Oh my gosh, it’s Ella Hewlett!” These are people we have never met, but friends to our daughter, from another school in another city, visiting from Utah. They hug, laugh, take selfies, and it’s over as quickly as it began.

“Who are those people?” we ask. “I met them one time at a football game, they’re my friends.”

This is an every day occurrence for Ella, no matter where she goes.

There is a light around this girl. She lifts others up, she is a favorite of all who meet her, as she makes you feel you are the most important person in her life. It is her Signature Move and she was born with it. She can’t help but make you feel loved.

Her Promise is to share this gift with others, and it’s her non-negotiable.

 

Ella and Daddy

 

“She’s got a smile that heals me…” 

 

She arrived in this world over a week late. I thought I’d miss the birth due to a gig in Mexico. Thankfully she hung in there and waited until after Thanksgiving 2005, a few months after we had finished building our first and only home we’ve known as a family in the brand new Daybreak community in South Jordan, UT.

The soothing piano music of Jon Schmidt played in the background at the hospital as our first born arrived – calm, pleasant, barely a cry, just huge eyes looking at all of us, as if to say we’ve met before. Love at first sight isn’t a strong enough phrase for how Tami & I felt as we cuddled Ella in awe and delight. All parents know this feeling, and it’s when you realize this is what life is all about, and at the same time hits you that you have no idea what you’re doing as a brand new parent.

She made it easy on us. Slept through the night, let out a soft whimper cry that was the most pleasant sound I’d ever heard, as we played dress up with her and danced around the house to 60’s and 70’s music.

Once she discovered how to smile, her nose would crinkle, gums on full display, and we melted, as did everyone who saw her.

Her smile became her Signature Move, shared with everyone at church, the store from her stroller, at strangers as she sat facing out from our chest baby carrier. The smiling baby – Ella Rae’s smile has always healed me.

Our first solo trip together was before she turned one, as people watched a new dad on a plane wondering where is the mother? We made it to Myrtle Beach, SC, where Mommy had already been for a few days, to visit our dear friends and show off our sweet Ella, her first cross country trip of soon to be many. My little travel companion, how happy we were to be together.

 

Ella Hewlett Myrtle Beach 2006

 

3 Stories

STORY 1 

4th Grade wasn’t turning out well for Ella. Tutors, teacher personal struggles, many factors added together made my dream finally come true that I had romanticized for years: I pulled her out of school to homeschool my daughter!

This had been my dream. It was not Tami’s dream, nor recommended by neighbors, friends and concerned grandparents.

Mommy wasn’t too pleased, but this was what I wanted – to have Ella with me and not getting sidetracked at school.  With families like Jason & Kim Kotecki, Heidi & Dave Totten leading the way, homeschooling had been my dream for my kids and Ella would be the first to experience it.

Ella became my ultimate sidekick, in between teaching Thomas Jefferson Education, going on hikes, adventures, art projects, philosophy, entrepreneurship, and discovering one’s greatness, she came to all of my local gigs, helping me sell merchandise, interacting with adults, even learning how to get on stage and not be afraid to show her talents as a dancer, gymnast, and precious performer.

 

 

She would run up mountains ahead of me, as we read Mark Twain, Lincoln, Franklin from the summit, drew & painted landscapes, talked about the dreams she wanted to live out in her life.  We made every day an adventure, sleeping in until we were rested, and then racing off for history lessons on trails where the pioneers walked, doing service projects, and having ample time with her younger brothers.

One day she was helping me with a work project in my office, when I asked her to check my texts and determine if they were important for me to address (she was 10 years old). She saw a text I had sent to a woman named Jessica which read, “I love you, friend.” To which Jessica responded, “Love you, too, Mister!”

Ella’s moral radar lit up. She didn’t know how to respond to what she had just read, wondering is dad cheating on mom? Instead of handing me the phone, she took it to Tami and said, frankly, “I think you need to see this, I’m concerned about Daddy.” Tami read through my texts and realized it was my dear friend and speaker pal, and our language was to say “love you” quite often.

Tami and Ella approached me in the office and explained the situation. We laughed about it, but also praised her. It was very telling of who Ella is, that she knew something must be wrong, and had to be addressed immediately for her parents to be protected. I’m very proud of her for this, and she has since become friends with Jessica, and all of my speaker friends who adore her, and with whom I perhaps say, “Love you” to a bit too often.

Eventually my career took a financial hit and I had to take gigs nation and worldwide that were too busy for me to keep homeschooling her. Sadly, it was time for me to have her return to the school system, thus ending a beautiful run where we went everywhere together, best buddies, and had the time of our lives. It was a Promise kept that I had dreamt of to even attempt the homeschool life, and sadly never able to return to, as I realized I wasn’t made for being the only teacher in that sense, and she needed more time with peers her age and more structure. The transition for her back to school life was easy, and needed, but for me it was as if I had given up on a dream in order to continue another as provider of our family.

Ella was the only child ever homeschooled in our family – for half a year – and it was one of the most important experiences of both of our lives. It helped her establish her competence and charisma with adults, to seek adventure, to see that life could be different than the norm. She also picked up a certain habit – she tells everyone she loves them, and they feel it and believe her, because she does.

(Jokingly, but who knows, we have discussed how perhaps the Daddy-Daughter homeschool experiment set her back in terms of school system expectations. When I mentioned earlier the challenges and circumstances that made graduating difficult, we have joked that it must have been due to her homeschooling teacher’s lack of knowledge and capability (me), or even the fact that she got used to sleeping in on school days and lived the late-night showbiz life with Daddy… and in that sense, the fact she graduated and finished all assignments shows her commitment to keeping The Promise she made to us to do so. Truth is: the benefits of homeschool far outweigh where I lacked.)

 

First Day of Homeschool for Ella – needed to start at Adventure’s First Stop: Maverik!

 

Ella Hewlett one of many hikes for homeschool

 

Southern Utah and Arizona

 

Skiing at Brighton

 

STORY 2

3:15 AM, there is a bang on the door and it sounds urgent, desperate even.

I grab my robe and something else I take to the door when it’s being banged on at night, and open it to find…

A young woman, sobbing, wrapped in a blanket, one of Ella’s friends.

She needed somewhere safe to get away from a domestic situation in her life, and ran nearly a mile to the one friend she knew would keep her safe and help her.

Ella rushed to her side, embraced and cried together, as they stayed up the rest of the night talking. Ella listened and consoled her friend, all the while we reached out to her parents to confirm she was ok with us, and could stay as long as needed.

This happened multiple times with many friends.

Ella was and is the safe place for her friends. They know she loves them. She listens. She is a teenage-therapist sans license or degree, but considered by those closest to her the person they need to hear, see, and understand them.

On the other hand, I have also opened the door around 6 PM nearly every Saturday night of the entire school year, to a new young man standing in Sunday dress with flowers ready to take Ella Hewlett to their school dance.

Without exaggeration, I believe she has been to every dance, prom, and boys choice event in our county since she turned 16.

Not doing the Raptor at all of these young men to scare them away has taken extreme dedication on my part, but we are grateful she always has a great experience with young men who know taking Ella Hewlett to their school’s dance will ensure they’ll have someone who will dance, be a blast to converse with, can fit into any friend group, and be the funnest date of their year.

Here’s a post about her first Prom with lifelong friend, and fellow Class of 2024 graduate, Luke Brooks.

 

Ella Hewlett and lifetime friend, Luke Brooks, Prom 2022 Herriman

 

Ella Hewlett Excellent Golfer

 

Ella Hewlett The Tennis Player

 

 

Hewlett Family Orlando, FL 2017

 

STORY 3

2015 Ella was 10 years old, and our family had just invested in our first motorhome. We decided to go big, and instead of just going around our home state, we went for it, crossing the country, from Utah to Washington, D.C., stopping along the way as far north as Minnesota and upstate New York, and as far south as St. Louis on the way back.

D.C. was the site of the National Speakers Association’s annual convention, and Ella was finally old enough to attend the youth leadership conference. As one of the youngest attending, she quickly made lifelong friendships with the children of the world’s most influential speakers and thought leaders, as she performed her dance in the talent show, shined her light and friendship with all in her path, paving the way for her brothers to attend in following years this life-changing program.

 

Lincoln Memorial Hewlett children 2015

 

When I have asked Ella what were the most crucial turning points of her life, NSA is always at the forefront, as this is where she discovered that she’s not just unique among her peers at home, but has a gift the world needs no matter where she goes.

In 2017, we would drive cross country again, this time in the southern states, to Orlando, FL, where her brothers Redford & Romney were able to be a part of the legacy Ella had created for the Hewlett name in the youth program, while I had the honor of being the chairman of it. To see her lead, navigate communication challenges, engage and spread her enthusiasm with strangers turned friends, this also became a blossoming moment for her brothers.

 

 

Having now visited nearly every state in the U.S., a seasoned traveler, she was also confident hitting the friendly skies.

In 2022, at the age of 16, we waved goodbye as she flew without parents or leaders all night to Atlanta, GA, connected to Miami, FL, and then on to Costa Rica, where she would spend 2 weeks in humanitarian work with the HXP Program that also changed her perspective of the world.

 

Costa Rica HXP Trip – Ella in Pink Hat

 

The following year we sent her to Jerusalem, via Amsterdam, where she became gravely ill in a foreign land, and yet pushed through despite her suffering, showed up every day, and had a spiritual conversion experience of momentous proportions, returning home a few weeks before tragedy struck in Israel.

She credits these worldwide travels to realizing she is a citizen of the world, who loves all people, all faiths, and is equally proud to be an American. Travel opens one’s eyes to opportunity and helps one to dream big. Ella has been able to do so many great things, all while keeping multiple jobs back home, and yes, even graduating from high school and seminary, two very tall orders with the schedule she keeps.

 

Ella and Jason in the Delta Sky Club on her way to Jerusalem 2023

 

Ella Hewlett Jerusalem 2023

 

Ella Hewlett Graduation from Church Seminary Program

 

 

The countdown for this post began 5 years ago, when it finally dawned on me that Ella only had 5 Summers Left with us as a child. I wrote a very popular post about that HERE if you want to check it out, and perhaps it will help you make The Promise, as it did me, to be AS PRESENT as possible for how fast life goes despite the whirlwind it is in realtime.

Last year, I wrote the 1 Summer Left post HERE.

These are all sobering thoughts, but are part of my Promise to not allow life to pass us by, since I live at such a pace, as you do as well I’m sure, that everything can slip through the cracks of intention and fall into the ruts of regret.

 

Tami made some of the best video montages that represent what the last week was like for us with Ella and this wonderful experience of her coming of age and graduating if you want to check them out below (Click on the screenshot and you may need to sign into Instagram as that’s the only place we can show them due to the copyrighted music laws).

 

 

 

Regardless of whether you know Ella personally or not, my hope in posting this on a professional and business blog is to keep a few Promises to you, myself, and my family:

  1. Honor, celebrate and acknowledge those we love as often as possible
  2. Highlight the Signature Moves, and Promises kept by those we interact with
  3. Write and keep a Family History of important life events in realtime so as to not forget
  4. Capture Greatness as it happens to further the expectation of living and creating a Legendary Life
  5. Family First always

 

Many congratulations to our amazing Ella, and the Legendary life she has already led, and will continue to create.

The best is yet to come. We honor and celebrate her, along with the many who have just crossed this threshold, and other life moments in the past few weeks.

Ella, you are a precious and wonderful blessing to us. Thank you for keeping The Promise.

 

“She’s got a way about her, I don’t know what it is, but I know that I can’t live without her.” 

 

Love,

Mommy & Daddy

 

Ella & Daddy 2012 Montana

 

~ Jason Hewlett

Husband, Father, Writer, Mentor, Hiker

  • Speaker Hall of Fame * Award-Winning Entertainer * Mentor
  • World’s Only Keynote Speaker utilizing entertainment, musical impressions, and comedy to teach The Promise
  • Author of “The Promise To The One”
  • President of Cardio Miracle.  Go to CardioMiracle.com to take your health back! Use coupon code HEW2024 for 15% OFF your order.

jasonhewlett.com

 

 

 

 

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6 thoughts on “The Graduate – The Legend of Ella Rae Hewlett”

  1. What a beautiful post! What an amazing daughter. She’s beautiful. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. We have 4 grandchildren graduating this year and they have each had their challenges, and I’m so proud of them.

  2. Cheryl Knowlton

    Sometimes, there just aren’t words. Thank you for this absolutely beautiful sharing of your life and your love for your beautiful daughter.

    Congratulations.

    So many Parental Paydays.

    And so many more to come…

    1. Parental Payday – I love that phrasing. Thank you for your support of this important moment in our lives. You are awesome.

    1. Thank you my friend for inspiring me so much at a time I needed your strength to go for it! Ella and I both truly benefitted.

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