Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Proud Big Sister

*Warning* This is a fairly long-winded post, but I promise there are photos at the end!

This past weekend, Mom, Dad, Rachel, and I piled into Mud Pie (Lovely new addition to the family: Honda Pilot extraordinaire!) and headed to Biddeford, Maine for Brian’s graduation from the University of New England. (Devin was headed in the opposite direction to meet up with his family in Niagara Falls for the Shaw Festival.

Upon our arrival Brian ushered us back out the door and off to give us a tour of the Aqua Culture Lab that he had worked in breeding and raising Clown Fish. It was really pretty amazing! While Brian showed off his education by talking about bacteria, salt solutions, and fish lingo, I floated about the room smiling adoringly at all the baby Clown Fish. Nemos everywhere! How could you not smile?

Saturday morning dawned bright and sunny, with blue skies and scattered clouds. Rain was likely, but we kept our fingers crossed that it would hold off until after the graduation ceremony and our beach cookout. The graduation itself was a pretty nice event. It was held indoors at the Portland Arena and about 800 students graduated. We arrived early to get good seats and waited patiently as the graduating students filed in, hoping to catch a glimpse of Brian. We were pleasantly surprised when he took up the rear of all the students, smiling and waving in all his soon-to-be-graduated glory! I love my brother. :)

The speaker was Dr. Rita Colwell, a highly distinguished professor and scientist. She started with the Three B’s of Public Speaking: Be Brief, Be Sincere, and Be Seated and continued on with a wonderful speech, reminding the graduates to not “make the same mistake made in Vietnam, by not honoring the warriors.” She encouraged them to continue learning daily (she has 53 honorary degrees!) and using your knowledge to better the world around you. One thing she said that really stuck with me was, “there are few things more gratifying than helping others help themselves.” It was in reference to work she did in Africa years ago to help alleviate the spread of cholera by teaching people to filter their water. It made me think about what I personally can teach someone that would help them help themselves.

Before I knew it, graduates were stepping up to the stage to accept their diplomas. It truly is a magical, slightly intoxicating experience, walking across the stage towards the university president. I remember my graduation from Valparaiso U. and how I kept thinking, ‘Left, Right, Left, Right, Don’t Trip, Smile, Left, Right…” And then I had a roll of paper in my hand and I was heading back to my seat. If not for the photos that proved I had actually gone up on the stage, I might argue that I had skipped it! After graduation, Brian relayed that “I wasn’t entirely convinced I was going to make it until that moment [walking back to my seat]. I just imagined I would get up there and she would frown at me and say, “You just keep on walking.”’ The relief was visible on his face as he walked back to his seat with a secret little smile, showing just how proud he was at his accomplishment. Made my heart glow! If I had not been looking through my camera, focusing on keeping him in focus, I might have been sniffling and dabbing my eyes, I was so proud! (Yes Mom, even big sisters are allowed to cry at graduations.)

After graduation we caught up with Brian in the Sea of Happy People (Newly named and copyrighted! I swear.) and made our way to the parking lot. On our way Brian would encounter various friends and classmates and say, “Picture! I have my personal fashion photographer following me today, so smile!” Tickled me pink!

That afternoon we enjoyed a delicious cookout at Brian’s friend Emily’s house, which is right on the ocean. BEAUTIFUL! The sun shone for about an hour before the fog rushed in and the temperature dropped. Us oldies departed the party mid evening to head for warmer/drier accommodations, but the new graduates stayed on for a bonfire and fireworks. Thanks for hosting the party Emily!

Congratulations Brian and friends! We really are very proud of you all.

And now, without further ado, graduation pictures!


Brian outside the Aquaculture Lab, looking all smart and such :)











All of the parents were asked to stand so that we may applaud their support. I was up by the stage and the 200 still was not able to get close enough. Thank goodness for hi-resolution!

Dr. Rita Colwell

The walk across the stage. Left, right, left, right.



YES!

The students had bubbles and beach balls floating about: very fun!

Huzzah!

More than half of the graduates decorated the top of their caps. There were a lot of fun ones!

The Sea of Happy People.



Sister shot! Hard to believe I am the big sister...



Simply could not resist this shot. I love the sign to the left.

The truth. Good luck!

The beach BBQ spread was amazingly delicious!

This fella, "Peg Leg" would dive bomb you if you were not paying attention and try to steal food. Pfft.



As the fog rolled in we made our way to the beach for a group photo.



Dad captured the next four images as Brian and I played "Fashion Graduate" on the beach.






xo K

1 comment:

Em said...

awesome pictures. I am so glad that you could come. I will do a BBQ at all the Maine Beach Houses that I own, and you are more than welcome too come!! :O)