Michele Regenold, Writing for Kids from the Boondocks

A blog about writing for children and the quest for publication.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Graduation from Vermont College of Fine Arts

(From left, Barbara, Nancy, me, Margaret, Page, Frances, Julie (and cut off on the right, Mary) as the dean confers our degrees. Photo by Paulette Oxner.)

Tuesday, Jan. 22 was a big day. I had to give my lecture that morning and graduate that afternoon.

The ceremony itself was short. We had to decide a lot of it early on, like who to be our graduation speaker and who to read the brief selections from our creative theses--these people are usually faculty members. My class decided not to do an invocation, so that cut a few minutes. We kept the class's welcome statement brief too. We announced our gift to the program, a new hard drive to help make lectures available in more formats.

We asked David Gifaldi to be our graduation speaker. He gave a marvelous speech that was funny, moving, and personal. We asked Rita Williams-Garcia to read the selections from our creative theses. She's a great reader, and she's worked with half of us, more than any other faculty member. Since there were so few of us, she was able to read several lines. The selection is chosen by our 4th semester advisors, so we don't know in advance what they'll choose. I smiled when I heard the piece Ellen Howard chose from my YA mystery, Smells Like Money:

Through the windshield I noticed the giant sunflowers in LuAnn’s garden. Their heads were as big as dinner plates, their deep gold petals painfully bright.

I closed my eyes against their glare. Grandma told me once that sunflowers follow the sun throughout the day, their heads turning to keep it in view.

Since Dad died Mom liked, no, needed to keep me in sight.
The president of Vermont College of Fine Arts usually confers the degrees and puts on the hoods, but he couldn't be there. We found out that anyone on the faculty could put the hoods on us. We asked Tim Wynne-Jones to do it. The hoods are kind of tricky little devils, so he practiced before the ceremony. The new dean made the formal statement conferring our degrees.

We've always admired the beautiful organ but never heard it played, so we had someone play that as we walked in and out. Other classes had bagpipes for that, but they sound sad and funereal to me. The organ was nice.

The organ in the chapel of College Hall, Vermont College of Fine Arts, Montpelier, Vermont. Photo by Paulette Oxner.

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