I say it every semester, and every semester it's true: It's hard to believe that another Institute class has graduated.
It was my 26th class. My second semester of overseeing all the student internship placements. A very different class from the fall class. And God showed up. We don't take that for granted: His presence every semester is what reminds us that this thing is not about us.
Here are some special people:
I got a chance to meet individually with all 5 of these ladies this semester. Mary Avery is in the center, and she and I met weekly (kind of :)) for some informal mentoring. She is in the process of switching from a major in nutrition to one in interior design. Oh, yes, and changing schools too. (Glad it's her and not me.) Through her work on her independent study in interior design, it was neat to see her passion for that work confirmed: she now knows that God has truly given her some gifts in that area.
Below is my small group: Rachel, Maggie, Rachel, Kaitlin and Laura. As I told them during our last dinner together (at Red Robin!), the thing I loved most about our times together was the good conversation centered around the Word. These ladies were willing to really dig in, ask great questions, and be taught by Scripture itself. I think that was the primary thing that grew us together as we studied Community.
Also, Kaitlin and I were definitely outnumbered as the resident extroverts. Actually, our small group was quite representative of this class as a whole—a class where a good number of mature leaders were introverts. Made me think a lot about if/how the staff needs to function differently to lead a group of introverted leaders than when the group is more extroverted. Still pondering that one, but I think I will be more aware the next time that situation arises.
For the first time in years, I personally supervised an intern (not as the practicum coordinator, but as the actual site supervisor). I'd done that when I worked at Plugged In, but not since. So let me introduce Maggie, my intern. This is a classy young lady with lots of talent as an event planner. She helped me to pull of the first two iterations of a brand new event that the alumni office is hosting: regional retreats for our alumni. Planning two events long-distance and making sure things run smoothly when you're not there to troubleshoot is a pretty impressive task. Thanks, Maggie: I couldn't have done it without you!
And here is a very cool moment from the ceremony itself. One of the members of the class, Matt, started it, so I'll let him tell about it. It was a blessing to all of us. (I know you can barely see it, but the students are standing with arms linked across the front of the stage—the whole class.)
Blessings to the class of Spring 2011!