It was a super hot day but everyone patiently sat through the entire commencement of the Graduate program and then through the second ceremony where JoAnn received her diploma. The deep blue and purple robes lit up the commencement grounds while I went back and forth between her family and her spot in line as JoAnn’s family members had a cell phone or camera in hand, sometimes both, to capture the moment that she walked across the stage. Her 15 biggest fans went crazy once her name was called, they stood on chairs and screamed for her with excitement. Her smile was clear as she accepted the diploma with relief and confidence of a job well done. She strutted, folks, I swear.
When the ceremony was over I faced a challenge: maneuver around the family cameras taking their own graduation photos. I had to find a unique angle that the family wasn’t getting on their own so I shot with a long lens while I stood on a chair to capture the elation of the whole group. I quickly switched to a wide lens and ran to capture the moment she met with her family and friends.
Then the party started up at an Asian-fusion restaurant in Chinatown called Oya. Her dad had a private room set up with a four course meal. During the meal different family members spoke about the dedication and hard work of JoAnn. They heaped her with praise and it was beautiful to see.
Watching the African traditions combine with the American achievement for a college graduate was a great experience for me and I was happy be a part of the day!