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Monday, April 14, 2014

Shooting Star

I've been accused by my eldest daughter of being a paparazzo. I felt like one, when after arriving at her Shooting Stars Gala in my suit (first time I've worn it in seven years) and spotting her walking by with a bunch of other overdressed high school seniors. I clicked away like I could sell the shot.

Corinna and I had been out to Suburban to get a couple yards of compost in a borrowed pickup, said truck was parked outside the venue resting on its overload springs.

We availed ourselves of the art gallery at the Nerman Museum, then of the snack buffet that was provided.

The Shooting Stars thing was a scholarship deal. Em was a finalist in vocal music, with the potential to win a $700 or $1,400 scholarship. I was in my suit because she'd asked me very nicely not to be myself and show up in a Hawaiian shirt. I didn't do the tie thing, and the shirt I wore with the suit was a paisley print affair, but I was more dressed up than a lot of the parents, or come to that, the teacher who nominated her, so I think I did okay.

I did feel slightly like a hobo who'd been told by his public defender to wear a borrowed suit for a court appearance.

It was cool to see how much the kids' own personalities showed in their choice of dress. One of the finalists in the stringed instrument category had on a suit with a snazzy purple shirt and pink bow tie. Some of the girls dressed very conservatively, some wore loud, splashy things you could only wear to something called a 'gala.'

For the main event, we sat in a huge auditorium and the kids were introduced one by one. Each finalist had to walk down a red carpet to the front/center of the stage while a video played overhead of their performance (or a slide show of their art for the visual art kids, or a clip of them reading their writing samples, etc.) Em gets pretty bad stage fright, so I wasn't surprised when it looked like all she could do to stand there for this part, but I was surprised at how many other kids seemed to have the same problem. If you're there for drama or music, I would expect you had enough of a case of the look-at-me's to revel in this moment, but I think about half the kids struggled with it.

Bryan Busbee emceed, spotted a pro photographer and me in the front row and made the kids stand with him as they received their awards and look at us. I was really only there to photograph one kid, but when he was holding them there and smiling right at my lens like the pro he is, I had to snap away even if I couldn't care less about that particular kiddo.

And unfortunately, I didn't get to shoot my own kiddo shaking his hand and holding one of the scholarships. I think it was still a good experience for her all the way around, though she sure could have used the scholarship.

Afterward, they had a star-shaped cookie and sparkling grape juice reception for all, but by then the tension was gone, so after we'd had our snack and taken a few more pictures of Em and whatnot, we headed out to shovel compost out of the borrowed truck.

A few more pictures of JCCC's features, too. The place has changed a lot since I attended classes there, but until the last semester or so I was there, you could smoke. In the building.

Back then, the Nerman Gallery was a little alcove, not even its own building. And the school had about one parking space for every three students trying to park and make it to class—if only I'd been hip to the bike commuter thing back in 1989.

Anyway, win or lose, I was super proud of my grown up daughter. All that Daddy's Little Girl thing kind of gets knocked down a peg when you realize if this person wandered in to an Army recruiter's office and said, 'Yeah, I wanna be a soldier,' the guy wouldn't just laugh and tell her to come back in a few years.

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