My Graduation experience

So after 3 long years, I finally graduated from Grad School. I now have my MFA in Stage Management! I am mainly creating this post for my family because they were not able to come. They have been to many graduations throughout the year, but a CalArts graduation is like none other. There is absolutely nothing traditional about our graduation (although you can say that about anything related to CalArts). I guess you could say it’s like one big party (and an even bigger one to follow).

A lot of graduates stay in the LA area because of the amount of connections they make here and they are able to get so many jobs because of it. I, however, am moving to Chicago. Therefore, I was feeling rather sad because I was saying goodbye to many people that night. I went kind of picture crazy with all of my friends.

These are the 2 other stage managers that graduated with me, Hope and Jules.

Here I am with Barb Edwards. She’s been with the theater school for many years and is now leaving. I’m glad I don’t have to go here without her.

This is me and Cameron. A really good friend I made while I was here. I was lucky enough to work with him on a show in our second year.

This is Hope and Aaron, the 2 office managers. I’ll miss them both.

This is probably one of the crazier friends I made while I was here. I’m pretty sure he is already drunk in this picture and it was only 5pm :-).

This is me and Erik. He’s a lighting designer I worked with several times.

Rogelio is one of my favorite actors here. Always so much fun and a great guy.

This is Hope and Lupe, the 2 showcase stage managers. Lupe is the only BFA stage manager graduating this year.

I’ve been friends with Erin since my first year here. She was also my teacher for the voice class that I took. I love her so much and I’ll miss her!!

This is one of my friends, Ashley, and a producer I was able to work with in my second year.

This is Ashley and Michael. They are two producers that have been attached at the hip since they arrived here. They ended up graduating right next to each other. Talk about meant to be.

These are all the graduates starting to line up. This was not an easy task :-).

Some of the outfits that people to wear to graduation are slightly unconventional. This is Tiana.

The next thing that happened was the processional. Here are some videos I took of my experience with the processional (sorry…the video quality is not really that good. I took it with my phone). You do get to experience just how crazy this kind of graduation is though. The music you are hearing is the african drum group. They are awesome!

Here are some photos I took while outside waiting for the ceremony to begin.

Here is my friend Christian and his crazy hat.

She was kind of far away, but I wanted to get a picture of Becky stage managing the graduation.

These are 3 friends I made: Mireya, Zoe, and Merkel.

Finally the ceremony begins. This is Yvonne Guy, the dean of students, giving her speech.

The Theme for this years graduation was “Metamorphosis”. Therefore, there were butterfly designs throughout the entire courtyard. One cool thing they did was release 140 butterflies for the ceremony. Here is a video I took of them. If you look hard, you can see them flying around.

One person I had the privilege of meeting this year was Alfred Ladzekpo. He has been working at CalArts for 41 years. He is one of the founding faculty members of the world music program. This was his retirement year and they made special mention of him at the ceremony.

Probably one of the best parts of graduation, was that Annette Bening was there to receive an honorary doctorate degree. She was so cool and gave a speech from “Romeo and Juliet”. In this video I have the man who introduced her as well as her speech. The introduction is not as exciting, so you may want to skip ahead to when she begins speaking. It starts at 3:40.

After all of that, we finally starting to walk across the stage and graduate. The picture of me walking is not available yet, but will be at sometime in the future. I had a great time. There is truly no other graduation like the one at CalArts.


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