This has been one of the most amazing months of my entire life. And that might even be an understatement. But it was not easy getting to a point where such a statement would be qualified.
To start, the days leading up to Dinner at Davidson were some of the most draining I have ever experienced. Running around trying to tie all of the loose ends and get everything in order really took the wind out of my sails. By Friday morning I was feeling really under the weather. To make matters worse, I had a take home exam due at noon the next day – the day of the event.
By Friday evening I finally felt comfortable leaving the remainder of the preparations to our amazing silent auction team and I headed out to go study for my exam. At 3 a.m. I felt myself fading fast and decided that the studying would have to be cut short. I opened the exam, and got started.
At 5 a.m. I finished the exam, sealed it, and dropped it in my professors mailbox. I then went over to the Lilly Gallery to take a peak at the location where our event would be held hours later.
Soon I was in my bed and sound asleep. But that did not last long. My alarm went off at 8:50 and it was back to the Lilly Gallery to help the Physical Plant staff set up the room at 9.
Student volunteers started trickling in after 10 to help, and the room started to come together. By the late afternoon the stage was set up, the places were set, and the silent auction was ready to go.
Our first guests started arriving shortly before six. I tried to act as calm as possible but inside I was shaking. In my efforts to take care of everything else, I had neglected to take the time to think about what I was going to say in my remarks at the end of the event.
Feeling ill and operating on very little sleep was not helping the matter. Fortunately, I had a fantastic team working around me that were able to calm me down and make sure that the event went smoothly.
Although I barely remember any of the program, I have been told that it went exceptionally well. You can hear for yourself by listening to our student speakers Kaneisha Gaston ’13 and James Tolleson ’13 here. I’ve listened to their talks a couple times in the last several weeks just to confirm that the event was real.
Of course, I attempted to capture portions of the event on my cell phone. But as you can see below, the camera on my blackberry felt about as healthy as I did.
In addition to having the camera on my phone, we were very fortunate to have several photographers at the event (something we forgot about last year). One of them was Haley George ’12 who took some amazing pictures. You can see some of these pictures at the bottom of the davidsonnews.net article about Dinner at Davidson (or on facebook if you are my friend). You can see more of Haley’s work on her on blog by clicking here. She is soo talented!
Anyway, Jordan Starck ’12 and I eventually put together some remarks and thanked the crowd for attending the event. We talked about how the event started but next year I hope we are able to talk more about why we are doing it and what motivates us to continue raising money for other students to come to Davidson. One of our up and coming leaders, Jordan Luebkemann ’14, snapped a picture of us while we were thanking everyone.
Shortly after our silent auction closed, I got word that we had raised more than our $20,000 goal. The rush of emotion that I felt was a feeling I’d only experienced once before – the first time was when the results came in that Bill had won.
It was one of those surreal moments that I will never be able to describe in words. If there is anything that can describe this feeling, it is the photographs that capture these moments. The first picture below is from our Election Day party in Baltimore when Bill won. The second picture was taken shortly after finding out we hit our mark at Dinner at Davidson.
Although I have talked a lot about “hitting our mark” and the “$20,000 goal,” this event really was about so much more than the money we raised. The entire project was started as a result of a group of students desire to say “thank you” to Davidson for their commitment The Davidson Trust.
In just over two years we have engaged even more members of our community in this discussion than I ever imagined possible. The Davidson Trust really is about more than just dollars and cents. It is about the lives affected as a result of others generosity. See a snapshot of these lives by clicking the link below.
In the days after the event we decided to use $20,000 out of our over $25,000 raised between this year and last year to start a scholarship for a member of the Davidson College Class of 2015. I’ve had the pleasure of sharing the details of this scholarship with many members of our Davidson family and you can now see it for yourself below.
Student Government Association Davidson Trust Scholarship: In addition to increasing awareness about The Davidson Trust throughout the Davidson community and beyond, this scholarship – supported through the efforts of the Student Government Association – helps to bring strong leaders of diverse socioeconomic backgrounds to the campus community.
Coincidently or not, I was re-elected as Class President two days after the event despite not having very much energy to campaign. Fortunately, my classmates proved to be very forgiving at the polls and awarded me another chance to lead our class. So in case you wondering, yes, we are already getting ready for next year’s 3rd Annual Dinner at Davidson.
As if that was not enough good news for a week, I found out the Thursday after the event that I was accepted into the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies (CIS) as a Educational Policy Studies major. As part of my major I’ll be student teaching and then receiving my teaching certificate along with my diploma in May 2013.
Also, on the last Saturday of February, Davidson honored Mike Maloy, the college’s first African American scholarship athlete. It was a beautiful ceremony that would not have been possible without the hard work of, John Rogers ’11, who did much of the leg work and the research that went into the event. You can read his commentary on Maloy here.
Finally, I left the 80 degree weather and flew home on Sunday night for Spring Break despite being tempted to go to Myrtle Beach with my friends. Of course, my idea for what a “break” should consist of differs from many of my friends but I had a good time at home, nonetheless. And I think they have forgiven me for not going with them.
On Monday morning I got up and went down to Annapolis, which is Maryland’s State Capitol, and helped out in Bill’s office. After spending most of the day doing research, I got to go with him to a hearing about budget cuts to the public schools.
There was supposed to be a big rally led by the Baltimore Education Coalition but because of torrential downpours the rally was rescheduled. Nevertheless a few loyal teachers, students, parents, and community members showed up to the hearing.
This was particularly cool because Baltimore’s Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake also showed up and talked about the importance of protecting funding to the Baltimore City Public Schools. After the Mayor spoke Bill got up and gave a passionate plea of his own.
I spent the rest of the week back at my high school conducting classroom observations and helping out the senior’s with their history papers. Seeing many of my former teachers and helping out around the school truly reminded me of why I have chosen to lead the life that I do. It is exciting to think that I could end up teaching there for real sometime in the next few years.
In case you are wondering what ever came out of my last post, “On SGA Composition,” after Spring Break there was an SGA referendum on Option B that did not pass. Of course I was extremely happy about that. Our problem, however, is not yet solved and we will have to go back to the drawing board to find a model that the entire student body can agree on.
Overall, it has been a truly phenomenal month and I am looking forward to the final stretch before summer. To be sure, my grades have really suffered as a result of my involvement. But, I hope I can use the second half of the semester to redirect my energy to my school work and prove that I can be a capable student. I figure that should be the first step before even considering becoming a teacher.