The tassel is worth the hassle!

Elizabeth Upton, Katelin Shugart-Schmidt, and Michelle Ramus celebrate graduation from GW Law School with their Juris Doctor degrees. Photo by Leigh Ann Burdett.

Our technological advances in health and science have been wondrous things, with iPhones, the observation of gravitational waves, and MRIs all resulting from these efforts. But one thing that hasn't happened is the development of that miracle device that you attach to your head, turn it on, watch the blinking lights and listen to the humming and, voilà, you are smarter.

How do you boost brain power?

Dang!  Just like a century ago, if you want to become educated, you need to get specialized training.  For many, this involves attending a college or university.  Except for the "diploma mills" that are willing to sell you a meaningless piece of paper for a fee, there is no shortcut here.  You need to study, and there are people who evaluate the quality and quantity of your knowledge.  After some period of time and effort, these colleges and universities bestow upon the student the title of "graduate." It may take a year. It may take 10 years.  After the requisite requirements are completed, the student is recognized as completing the requirements for the degree or certificate.

In general, there are no short-cuts, and certainly there are no brain hook-ups that impart knowledge (not even sleeping with a book under your pillow, which I so desperately hoped would help me with Chem 101).

This weekend, we celebrated with our number 1 daughter, Katelin, her graduation from The George Washington University Law School.  This is her third degree, with a BS (environmental science) and an MS (fisheries and wildlife sciences) already under her belt.  However, I think it is fair to say this degree required more work, involved more stress, depended on more coffee, and will be more of a career shaper than the other two degrees.

As a side note, this means that between Katelin, Caroline, Elan, Wesley, and me, there is a total of 18 college and university diplomas.  Guys, we have to get a life!

This blog entry is intended to give Katelin's friends a "parents-eye view" of the celebratory weekend.  We left Logan at 6:45 AM and arriving in DC closer to midnight.  There was an almost 3 hour wait in a small jet on a runway in North Carolina while the captain worked to get permission from air traffic control for a flight path around some bad weather. Katelin and Elan met us in DC as the rain poured, but we were so delighted to be there! There was a lot of rain this weekend, with the Potomac River at flood stage, but we were lucky enough to have the rain stop on Sunday for graduation (the graduates didn't have to wear - and smell - wet regalia robes for 3 hours.  Whew!).  There were a number of activities going on all weekend. 

On the shore of the Potomac River near Georgetown, home of that "other" law school.

Event number 1 was the GW Law School's Pro Bono Celebration.  This was to thank the students who volunteered, collectively, some 8 years of legal work over their time as students.  Even I was impressed, given the rigors and demands of law school.

Blake Morant, Dean, GW Law School, welcoming honorees.

 "...and this is the student with the longest name in the program."

AJ Bolan, Katelin, and Michelle at Pro Bono Celebration.

Caution... even law schools make mistakes!

The next day, the school had 2 activities, the awards presentation and the reception following.  I actually had to change my "uniform" of jeans and tennis shoes for something a bit tidier.  The awardees were amazing.

Katelin is receiving the American Law Institute CLE Law Scholarship and Leadership Award.

Katelin's colleagues Elizabeth and Michelle are recognized for winning the Moot Court competition... as 2L students!  They had to wait until graduation, 18 months later, to receive this award.

The reception for law students was held at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History & Culture.

Guess whose robe this is?

A statue of the 1968 Olympics Human Rights Salute.

Carl Lewis' Olympic medals, except for the one he buried with his father.

Then, of course, came graduation.  The rain stopped, the sun came out, and the 3 hour wait for all the diplomas to be handed out began!

Elizabeth and Erica Spevack leading the parade!

And it was done!  Welcome to the world, new lawyers!  Help protect people, and the planet!

Watch out, world!  Photo by Leigh Ann Burdett.


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