Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Graduation 2012 - Part II

On May 12, 2012, the morning of the commencement exercises for Mount Angel Seminary, Kathy Akiyama, a member of the English Communications faculty, gathered responses from members of the seminary community on the events of the day as they waited to process into the Abbey Church.  Ms. Akiyama's daughter Jasmine took the photos that accompany her story.

You may also read an earlier post and enjoy more photos of this year's graduation.

Reflecting on Graduation 2012
by Kathy Akiyama

Warm and welcoming sunshine poured from clear blue skies as parents, relatives, friends, faculty, staff, administrators, and other well-wishers gathered to celebrate the achievements of students who had completed their College, Pre-Theology, or Theology programs.

A festive mood permeated the 2012 Commencement celebration.  I decided to collect quick impressions to share.  At first, most people thought it weird to talk into my pink-encased iPhone, but as they relaxed they offered witty, thoughtful, and engaging comments.

Standing in two lines ready to process into the Abbey Church from the Damian Center, the College and Theology graduates waited in anticipation.  Grant Boggs summed up what several felt: "I'm so excited I don't even know what to think - just super happy."  Patrick Arguelles said that he felt "scared and nervous at the same time" like Alfred Guerrero who said, "I've got butterflies!

The undergraduate students at the head of line as the graduates prepare to march to the Abbey Church. (photo by Sister Hilda Kleiman)

Bradley Fisher noted the importance of the day: "This is the culmination of three and a half years and it's a lot."  A peal of laughter sounded around Conor Martin's reflection: "After four years of college, I realize I know absolutely nothing."

Clyd Rex Jesakva

Graduate AJ Vander Vos laughs with Ms. Kathy Akiyama

Mark Godinet offered a prayer: "Thank you Lord - finally four years done," and Clyd Rex Jesalva prayed eloquently, "Not to us, Lord, but to you be the glory."  Many voiced gratitude like Ricardo Ruesega: "I am happy to graduate, thanks be to God."  AJ Vander Vos summed up by saying, "Thank you to all the teachers and God who brought me to this place."

A more serious mood permeated the Theology graduates, especially those about to move into ordination and first assignments as priests.  Joseph Nguyen expressed the gratitude which was shared by others such as Deacon Federico Dundas, Deacon Maximo Stock and Father Paul Farrelly of Prince of Peace Abbey: "Thank you to the faculty and administration and staff for having us here, and it's over!"  Lay student Khanh Diem Le expressed relief: "It it finished!" while Deacon Laszlo Berta expressed appreciation: "Thanks be to God."

Philip Okwama quietly and ceremoniously offered concluding remarks: "Hakuna matata" which roughly translated from Swahili means "here there are no concerns" or "no worries."

In contrast to the organized lines of the graduates, the faculty stood scattered about joshing and exchanging repartee.  Father Richard Koelker paused in his banter with Father Rory Pitstick to say, "We were just discussing pontifical degrees.  We both have pontifical degrees, and so we pontificate constantly."

Basking in the sunlight, Ms. Linda Wiegel said, "I can't recall such a beautiful day for graduation.  After thirteen years of teaching, it's absolutely perfect."  Mr. Jim Sisley said thoughtfully, "It's a remarkable class this year, I think.  A lot of the guys here have their own special talents.  We're sending out an interesting class into the world."

More reflections from this year's graduation will be shared on the journalism blog later this week.

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