. . .in addition to she’s today a graduate of Duke University. About seven years ago, we first visited the Duke campus with Caleb, passing through on the LAST possible day for college tours as we were working our way down the coast. Caleb liked Duke, although the item was Julia tagging along who came away coming from the day saying “I want to go to school here.” When she decided to apply a couple years later, not all her high school team believed in her chances. although one thing about Julia, when she makes up her mind, she can work in addition to lean into the hard. in addition to so four years ago we were carting her belongings up three stories in a quaint although non-air-conditioned no-elevator dorm for her college adventures to begin. She found her niche within the intersection of environmental policy, cultural anthropology, in addition to global health. She tested water quality in Alabama on an environmental justice research project. She worked on the Duke Campus Farm towards a sustainable food chain, volunteered with senior citizens in addition to church preschoolers, joined the leadership team for her Christian fellowship, catalogued rare seeds in addition to studied the impact of grazing on indigenous plants in Jordan, studied Arabic in addition to worked with an arts internship in Morocco, completed a comparative global health semester abroad in India, South Africa, in addition to Brazil. She played intramural soccer in addition to tennis, camped out for Cameron tickets the year Duke won the national championship, made pottery, went camping in addition to to the beach. She baked cookies in addition to encouraged younger students, cultivated friendships with multicultural beauty, drove hundreds of miles to be with brothers in addition to some other family. in addition to she wrote papers in addition to took exams in addition to arrived on the scene with honors, within the top fifth of all Duke undergrads.
So today we wrapped up a weekend of celebrating of which gift, the gift Julia has been in addition to will be to the earth, in addition to the gift she received in of which 4-year banquet of opportunities. She grabbed them in addition to worked hard to make the most of them, in addition to we are so happy for her. Person after person who had spent time as her teacher or mentor or friend smiled at us in addition to told us stories of her impact. She will be missed in Durham.
- Julia treated her grandmothers in addition to her mom (me!) to a lovely lunch for an early mother’s day.
- Luke was on point, with logistics in addition to icy drinks in addition to cheer in addition to help throughout the long weekend, keeping the focus on what-does-Julia-want. Plus both grandmothers, my sister Janie, most of Julia’s Biggerstaff cousins.
- We put together a party for about 40-some people having a Costco run in addition to some decorations at a pavilion on the farm where she worked. She invited friends in addition to their families to come out, in addition to the atmosphere was lovely, bees in addition to flowers in addition to vegetables, abundant food in addition to drink, conversations in addition to a setting sun.
- Parties for some other friends where we dropped in to meet people, in addition to another party hosted by the Duke Farm managers for the 5 seniors who worked there.
- A church service at Blacknall, where Julia attended in addition to volunteered. Her pastor preached powerfully to the graduates, challenging them to pursue courage over clarity. He talked about the disciples within the storm on the boat, in addition to how most of our plans in addition to lives do not move in clear in addition to predictable directions. To follow Jesus we need courage!
- A Baccalaureate service where the Rev. Luke Powery (Dean of the Duke Chapel) preached another powerful, relevant, bold, hopeful message on the life of Jacob. He talked about life in America, in addition to challenged the students with the truth of which life will bring wounds in addition to difficulty in addition to of which is usually where we meet God.
- A Departmental graduation with the Environmental Science faculty, where Julia received her diploma, in addition to we met her advisor in addition to enjoyed seeing the educational spaces in addition to a reception with some other students in addition to family.
- A dinner with grandmothers in addition to a couple of her close friends at a hip restaurant with menu items we had to google to understand.
- in addition to of course, the main event, the massive commencement ceremony on a 0+ degree pounding sun day within the football stadium, where Tim Cook enjoined the graduates to not accept the status quo, to keep searching for better solutions.