Monday, May 21, 2012

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Eckerd Graduation

Amy's mom, Uncle, Aunt, my chair, Fred in the front row.  Her dad, grandma and granpa and brother in the next row.
Today, at 8 am to be exact, we were on the beach at Eckerd College watching our niece (well, she calls us Aunt and Uncle, so we are calling her our niece!) graduate from college!  It was awesome. Here is the whole gang.  Mom Barbara in the front row got up at 5:30 am to get us these front row seats.

Friday night we had a smashing meal at Bern's to celebrate the impending matriculation.  At dinner we learned that Amy had won the prestigious John H. Sykes Award.  Amy was given the award for her involvement at Eckerd College with Hillel and with the Holocaust Museum.  One of the reasons I've always been impressed with Amy is that she has shown a devotion to service since high school, when I first met her through her mom (a fellow librarian and dear friend).  At the time, she was Key Club president and had rewritten their website and organized an amazing fundraiser coordinating the activities of tons of kids all while being a very busy senior trying to get into college.

At Eckerd, she continued volunteering by joining the newly instituted Hillel Club her sophomore year.  From there she became director of communications, updating and maintaining their website, creating a fan page for them on Facebook and also a Twitter account.  She also sent out a weekly newsletter to all volunteers, students, parents and alums.  In her senior year, she was elected president and ran board meetings, club meetings, supervised club volunteers and coordinated the special and monthly events, such as monthly shabot dinners.  (Are you getting a sense of why she won the Sykes award? 8-) 

In addition,  in her senior year she also interned at the Holocaust Museum as a donor/fundraising intern, which involved searching for and updating their contact list, researching grant and funding opportunities,  organizing donor packets, and researching possible new donors.  All this while trying to finish her degree.  I must say, I was never that busy during college.  I worked a part-time job, but I know I wasn't that busy!

Looking at the back of a graduating puppy raiser and her Southeastern Guide Dog puppy, a black lab, as they process to their chair.
But even though she was always busy with activities, Amy always had time for us.  And that included our dogs too.  I remember bringing Bingo out to see her.  I won't go into detail, as many of you remember Bingo, but let's just say, it was memorable.  Amy and her brother Brian (and really, her dad as well) have always wanted a dog.  But the family has had too many activities or just worked too many hours to have a pet.  So when Amy selected Eckerd College, she was really excited because she was going to get two dogs by virtue of knowing me and Fred.  So Amy has watched Bingo, HRH Berkeley and now Jam grow from tiny puppies to gangly teens to adults.  And when she spent the night, it was always fun to watch her interact with the dogs.  

Amy had told us at dinner Friday that one of her classmates had a Southeastern Guide Dog puppy and that she watched him grow up every Tue/Thur in class.  She said the the puppy raiser, who also works at Southeastern, was definitely a good rule follower and that the puppy soon had all the rules down and knew that class time was nap time.

Amy, coming down the aisle towards her dad, she is smiling.
Amy appeared soon after the puppy raiser and I got this super blurry photo.  Sigh.  You can make out a big smile though.

Amy, smiling big!
We didn't bring Jam with us to the graduation because we wanted the morning to be about Amy.  We didn't want any distractions.  It was so wonderful to see someone we love walk across that stage and wave that diploma high in the air.

Jam and Willow were waiting comfortably for us in the kitchen when we returned.  They weren't aware that Amy had graduated.  They seemed well rested and relaxed. 

But I know, in my heart, they were barking for joy for her.

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