Archive for the ‘Commencement 2009’ Category


Reflections on Graduation V

May 19, 2009

By Ursula Jonsson

Our tech-savvy, online generation googles, facebooks, myspaces, and tweets like professionals. We download, upgrade, burn, rip, and post better and faster than our parents and teachers. With all the double-clicking and right-clicking, in what way does this digital know-how translate into something meaningful for us as college graduates?

We grasp, white-knuckled to the idealism that so epitomizes our age group and we sit with furrowed-brow at our computer monitors. We have become the internet generation, yes, but really we have become flexible and dynamic verbs; compelled to act because we want to be a part of something substantial for ourselves and for those around us. This era of novel verbiage and tech phrases signifies this action. We are curious about what is around the corner, interested in localities beyond our own, and yes, we inquire into the lives of others.  The world is not static. And neither are we. Read the rest of this entry ?


Reflections on Graduation IV

May 13, 2009

By Jessica Pfleiderer

When I graduated from high school, I thought I would always remember walking across the stage and getting my diploma. The only thing I remember is that I didn’t fall in front of the few thousand people who were there. On the other hand, the homecoming game from my senior year and the debate practice when my best friend taped me to a chair will be etched in my memory forever.

Reflecting on the importance of these relatively “small moments” in life, respected women’s rights advocate Susan B. Anthony once said, “Sooner or later we all discover that the important moments in life are not the advertised ones, not the birthdays, the graduations, the weddings, not the great goals achieved. The real milestones are less prepossessing. They come to the door of memory unannounced, stray dogs that amble in, sniff around a bit, and simply never leave. Our lives are measured by these.” Read the rest of this entry ?


Reflections on Graduation III

May 7, 2009

By Sailee Gupte

Congratulations, Elliott School Class of 2009!  We will soon be graduates of The George Washington University.  For the last few years, this college has been our home.  Within its dozen city blocks, GW has nurtured us and prepared us for our future.  We entered this university with empty minds, primed for filling.  Hopefully through our experiences here, we leave with more knowledgeable, open minds.  No longer just absorbent sponges, we now have the ability to entertain a thought without accepting it, the true mark of an educated mind according to Aristotle. Read the rest of this entry ?


Reflections on Graduation II

May 4, 2009

By Collin Stevenson

I remember Karen, a New Orleans homeowner I met my freshman year.  Our team of volunteers had completely gutted her home.  Her stolid countenance stubbornly fought back tears as her elderly frame climbed the van-sized mound of gutted debris.  She stood atop ruined baby photo albums, wedding and prom dresses, appliances, everything that fills a home… and she posed for a picture.

My camera immortalized a proud and tenacious smile that refused to show signs of discouragement.  She was defiant in the face of tragedy, determined to rebuild her home, and dedicated to her community.  Gone were all of her material possessions, but what was left is the only thing I’ve discovered to truly matter: human relationships—with her family, friends, neighbors, a group of student volunteers, and now you, the reader—that in part define who she is and how she affects the world around her.  These things are waterproof.

Read the rest of this entry ?


Reflections on Graduation

April 24, 2009

By Aaron Wodin-Schwartz

My fellow graduates: “If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, today is your answer.” Well, maybe not quite. But still, our graduation marks an important moment, as we turn the page on a formative chapter of our lives. Though for the most part we have commenced our professional aspirations and our careers, after today many of us will take full flight, never to return to the academic nest. So before you leave, make sure to take a final stroll around the grounds to take it all in and remember this place with a fondness.

Let us reflect on these past years. Read the rest of this entry ?


Editorial Note: Commencement

April 22, 2009

Over the next few weeks preceding May’s commencement festivities, The E Street Beat will feature the voices of several graduating students as they reflect back on their time within the Elliott School and look forward to the future.   Elliott School students pursue a wide variety of activities both within and outside the walls of 1957 E St., and as their time on campus winds to a close, many of our students have interesting stories to tell that evoke fond memories and illuminate the opportunities available to other current and future students.

If you are a current student preparing for graduation and would like to share your Elliott School story, we invite you to submit your thoughts (in essay format) to for publication consideration.