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Commencement Contest Awards 2017

Each school year, students of all majors write, draw, perform, and compose for the annual Commencement Contest held in the spring semester. In late April, an evening is set aside to showcase the talents of all the first-place winners. During the awards program, the audience enjoys dramatic presentations, musical performances, and original essays. Across campus in the Visual and Performing Arts building, students gather for an awards presentation and art gallery opening honoring the winners of the various art contests.

2017 Commencement Contest Winners



Gloria Hunter

Extemporaneous Essay

Original Narrative:



Carolyn Stritzke

Original Narrative:


The Top Step

by Gloria Hunter

“Can I help you, honey?”

“Sure, if you want to get out the silverware.”

“How many?”

“Just set six places; Grace is leaving early tomorrow.”

“What are we having?”

“Just put out spoons. It’s just cereal for breakfast.”

I shifted my weight on the beige carpet, trying my best to stay silent. While initially soft to the touch, the carpet had become rough and scratchy, leaving marks on the back of my legs while I sat at the top of the stairs. When I shifted, one stair creaked—the top one—and I froze mid-crouch to see if anyone had heard. I was safe. The conversation downstairs between mom and dad still rambled on in easy banter about which cereal was better.

Finally reassured that I was safe, I eased into a more comfortable position, hoping that no more squeaks would come from the top of the staircase. I lifted a limp strand of wet hair to smell the freshly-shampooed wetness. The rest of my hair twisted in stringy strands around my face, the ends dampening my T-shirt.

Finally the conversation downstairs slowed to a lull, then eventually dropped off altogether. Could I have seen past the twist in the staircase, I would’ve seen six sets of silverware placed in neat rows on our honey-golden kitchen table and the house sleepy and dark with only the electronic clock on the microwave giving a strange green light to the kitchen.

The house was falling asleep and I was too, so I curled my legs up beneath me and slowly stood, careful to not make a sound. My knee popped and it seemed to echo in the hollow staircase like a gunshot. I scurried to bed, jumped beneath the covers, and traced the ceiling fan with my eyes until my pulse slowed down, then finally fell asleep.

I did it often. As ashamed as I am of myself now for admitting it, it doesn’t change the truth. I eavesdropped. Some bite their nails, others crack their knuckles, and I eavesdropped like a bad habit. I learned a lot by squatting at the top of our wooden staircase listening to the adults below, living a life that kept laughing after bedtime. I heard whispers, trailing thoughts I yearned to hear the end of. I heard laughter as parties extended past my curfew. I heard familiar voices of family and strange voices of old people friends. I heard secrets and game buzzers and plans for breakfast the next morning. But no matter what I heard, I was always listening most intently for the creak of the stairs to warn me of an adult climbing the staircase. That creak was my cue to fly from the top step where I had been making finger puppet shadows on the wall and dive into my bed where I forced myself to look asleep.

I knew if my mom or dad caught me they would’ve told me that I should’ve been somewhere else (like in bed), but the thrill of waiting with baited breath for just one more snippet of adult life to wander up the stairwell was enough to keep me rooted to the top step no matter how late the night became. I loved getting a preview of what it was like to be all grown up, to play big-people games, to eat ice cream after bedtime, to whisper secrets too old for my ears, even to know what was for breakfast. The stairs were my gateway to adulthood. The stairs gave me a sneak peek at what it looked like to not be a child still perching at the top of the stairs with damp pajamas and skinny bare legs and the taste of Colgate still fresh in my mouth.

Now I’m all grown up (or so they tell me) and now I’m the one downstairs setting the table for breakfast and playing games and laughing over late-night bowls of ice cream. But some days when I crawl back up those stairs after a late night of staying up way past my childhood curfew, I still wish I had a top stair I could squat on to learn more about the life that is waiting for me. I wish I had a staircase to linger at the top of just to get a glimpse of what’s ahead. Not just to know what’s coming for breakfast, but instead to know what’s coming in life. I’d really love to overhear my parents whispering the answers about where I’ll live one day, who I’ll marry, what job I’ll get, or where I’ll be in two or three years.

Yeah, a staircase would be nice so I could know what’s ahead and then dive under my covers every night just a little bit wiser. But on second thought, I’m not sure I’d be grown up if I still squatted at the top of the stairs hoping for a preview of my life. I think growing up means leaving behind that scratchy patch of beige carpet at the top of my staircase and being brave enough to face the rest of my life without a hint of what’s coming.

As a child, I climbed to the top of the stairs and stopped, waiting to listen for what was next. Now I climb to the top of the stairs and keep climbing. Because I know that’s what it means to grow up.

Duty Bound

by Carolyn Stritzke

“Just a little farther.” I gritted through clenching teeth. Sharp pains shot up my left leg as my bad knee buckled and dragged. Even at a light jog, Raider with his loping strides was dragging me forward. Stumbling, I worked to regain my balance. Sweat beaded along my forehead and dribbled down my face and neck in halting tributaries, icy under the onslaught of brisk autumn gusts. Winter was marching steadily forward; Autumn was in full retreat. Anymore time, that elusive reminder of man’s fate, was a hard fiend to keep track of. The weather during my daily jog was my only reminder of the passing months. This was my third season since my return from active duty. Strange—I hadn’t realized it had been so long.

A hazy picture floated to the surface of my mind. A gruff major was bending over my bed. “Son, it looks like you made it, but this is gonna be where you and the army part ways. I sure hope you’ve got a back-up plan.” I had learned later that I had shrapnel in my knee from a roadside bomb. They’d shipped me back home with the rest of the wounded.

The wind pummeled my flushed skin, drawing me back to the present. Raider kept jogging with unflinching diligence, his furry pads bounding through the grassy, leaf-filled ditch, and his pointed ears tucked back against his head. For a moment, I wished I could be a German shepherd rather than a former soldier.

Finally, I tugged at Raider’s leash, pulling him to a stop. “Enough. Let’s take a short break, buddy.” I bent over double, trying to draw the frigid air into my lungs. I had no form, no pounding routine cadence. Not even the rookies in boot camp look this bad. My physical therapist said that this is normal—would be my new normal, now—but I can’t bear to accept the thought. I don’t want to be a cripple.

A car raced past, tires crunching over the rough road. I ignored it. Probably just a carload of kids laughing. ‘Look at that man,’ they must say, ‘doesn’t he look funny? Why does he walk like that?’ I had heard the words plenty enough before to hear their unspoken scorn now. I pulled myself back up right and stretched my spine. High above a flock of geese honked as they flew south in their trademark “v” formation. Dead, crumbling leaves rattled in the branches overhead as the cool autumn wind flowed past; green hedge apples with rust colored spots littered the ground. I frowned. One of those could probably twist an ankle. Should have seen those sooner, Corporal. I took another deep breath, held it in, and tried to push away the pain as I let it out.

“Jest get on up there, you stubborn—” muttered an old whiskery, age-roughened voice. Grunts followed this gruff statement.

My gaze flitted around as my muscles tensed. I tried to locate the only other person I’d heard or seen actually out in this weather. The mutterings continued. Just like Andy used to. I grimaced, remembering skin-scorching waves of heat as Andy struggled to load a ponderous box into the back of a Humvee. Laughter had slipped between my lips as he pushed, finagled, and finally shoved the box in. He had always been good for a brief laugh... until we’d lost him to a land mine. Not much to send home to his Mama.

The muffled shouting, mumbling, muttering continued. I finally located the voice. Old Man George was trying to load an almost full bag of mulch into a wheelbarrow. He had it perched haphazardly on his shoulder, trying to push it up along the side of the wheelbarrow and over the rim. Any minute now and the bag would dump back onto the ground. The poor old fellow. His muscles were clearly much too atrophied for that sort of lifting. I sighed. Duty calls. Approaching the wooden fence, I carefully picked my steps through the hedge apples and ducked under the tree’s low hanging branches. He didn’t seem to see me. Sitting on the fence, I swung my legs over and trod haphazardly through the stalky dried branches of what was probably a bush.

“Get off my land!” Old Man George, having finally seen me, yelled in outrage, shaking his fist as he tried to balance the mulch bag against the wheelbarrow. Already the wheelbarrow was starting to tip.

I would have hurried, but the flowerbed was inches deep in mulch; every step I took threatened to upset my already iffy balance. Raider whined, watching me through the fence.

“Now see here!” the old man protested, moving his hand back to support the bag of mulch as it started to slide back down.

“Where did you want this?” I gestured to the bag.

His mouth opened soundlessly. The bag slumped to the ground. “By the shed, but—”

I hunched down, grabbed it in my arms, and tossed it in the wheelbarrow.

He sputtered at me for a minute, his face reddening as his blood pressure rose. His eyes narrowed at the bag in the wheelbarrow. “The young these days have no respect for their elders.”

I fought a smirk from spreading across my face. “The old these days have no respect for themselves. What else did you need moved?”

He huffed irritably. ”Well,” he finally sputtered, “since you’re here, you might as well get my rake and trimmers for me, too.”

“All right.” I bent down to grab them. “Did you want them in the same spot?”

Old Man George nodded tersely. I threw them in the wheelbarrow on top of the bag of mulch. I could feel his sharp eyes watching my precise movements. Gradually he seemed to relax. “Where’d ya serve?”

“Afghanistan.” I grabbed the handles of the wheel barrow. Why does everyone ask that?

“What part?”

I dug my shoes in and pushed the wheelbarrow towards the shed, trying to hide my limp. “Around.” Behind I could hear my dog barking. Dimly, at the back of my mind, a voice reminded me, “You’re not supposed to be separated from him. You still have flashbacks.” I pushed the voice away. I’m not that broken.

The old gardener snorted and then started walking to the gate to let Raider in. The dog glared suspiciously at him before darting past. Old Man George didn’t even seem fazed. Strange, it’s not often I meet someone who isn’t fazed by Raider ‘s glare. I committed the observation to memory.

As I pushed the wheelbarrow forward, I glanced around the yard, studying the general lay of the land: the gates and the buildings, the beds, and the bushes, and the trees. I needed to know the fastest route out of here: call it my training.

Several mutts were sleeping in a pile on the porch. One of them lifted his head and growled at Raider but didn’t bother to actually try to chase him off. Smart dog. Beyond I could see two cats with swishing, bottle-brush tails stalking around the corner of the house away from us. I stifled a grin. Other than the obvious motley collection of pets, the place was empty

It didn’t used to be like this. Old memories resurfaced of the old man and his late wife. Their home had been the heart of this neighborhood. A cider mill oozed under the apple trees while neighbors milled, a tire swing hung from the old oak tree, and somewhere, far in the back of the property, boys fished in the stocked pond with willow branch rods. I missed those days. The neighborhood felt disconnected now.

Beside me, the old man offered his hand to Raider to sniff. Raider stuck his nose out and sniffed quickly before darting back. The old man smiled. “If you stay and help me finish this bed, my daughter-in-law left me some apple pie. Might be willin’ to share a piece.”

“That won’t be necessary.” I shoved the wheelbarrow to a stop in front of the shed.

He chuckled. “Don’t matter if it’s necessary.”

I looked at Old Man George. The lightheartedness faded from his face; deep lines carved by sun and wind tightened around his mouth. The difference felt like the difference between childhood and the real world, and it hurt to watch. It hurt to understand. Finally, I nodded. “Yes, sir.”

He nodded. The deal was sealed. “Might as well get this lot in.” His hand waved over the wheelbarrow.

I picked up the tools. “Where do you want them?”

He twisted the doorknob on the shed. It squeaked and ground before the door banged open. With a flick of the switch, the light turned on, buzzing and glowing, the light bulb slowly warming up. I stepped onto the threshold. The musty aroma of a dirty, hay-strewn floor, rusty tools, old tractor oil, and stale cat food met my nose. The light didn’t reach the far comers of the room, but everywhere that I could see tools, boards, mowers, parts, pieces, spare screws, metal poles, and plywood boards lined the walls and filled the center. At the back, a cat’s eyes glared incandescently at me, and then disappeared

“Just stick ‘em by the mower.”

I hesitated, eyeing the cramped, small, dark room. I didn’t want to enter. Panic clawed at the back of my throat like a rat trying to escape its doom. I backed up. Crumbling walls the color of desert sand hemmed me in. The rat-a-tat of AK47s echoed in the close space. Sweat trickled down my back. I crouched down against the wall, trying to remain hidden and small in the night’s shadows. I didn’t have my gun. Where was my gun? My breathing shortened. Gasp in; gasp out. Something wet tickled my fingertips. I glanced down. Raider was licking my fingertips. Why is Raider here? When I looked back up, the city was gone, the fight long over. Old Man George stared down at me, his lips puckered together and moisture in his eyes. I rose from my crouch. “I don’t need your pity.” I grabbed the mulch and the tools and threw them into the shed without bothering to watch where they landed. I tugged the door shut with a fierce pull.

“I wasn’t pitying you, son.” His eyes were still moist. “Come on and bring the wheelbarrow,” he turned back to his gardens, “we still have one more bed. It’s chock full of walnuts. Got to get them out. My daughter-in-law wants ‘em for a pie.”

I stared at his retreating back. What? The distance between us increased as he kept walking. Raider took one look at me and trotted after him. Traitor. I hurried after. The pain in my leg was more intense; the flashback had reminded me of the shrapnel. I grabbed my pant leg and used it to pull my leg forward. There’s no time to lag behind. That’s for the weak.

When I finally caught up, the old man was standing next to the last bed, a large, irregularly shaped slope lined with bricks. It slouched to the left of a sidewalk leading up to the two-story farmhouse. On the right, a thick tree with rough bark towered over the shingled roof. The dogs that had been sleeping on the worn wrap-around porch were gone. Raider lounged against the tree’s roots. Walnuts littered the ground.

“Jest take ‘em and toss ‘em in the wheelbarrow.”

I set to work, focusing on each nut in front of me. I would not have another flash-back—at least not in front of the scrappy, scraggly old man picking up nuts in front of me. The next time I looked up the wheelbarrow was full, the grass and mulch were clear of nuts, and the sun was significantly higher in the sky. Old Man George leaned back against one of the pillars of the porch, a hand on his back and a grimace on his face. “Time for pie,” he groused. “Leave the walnuts and come on.” He disappeared inside.

Raider stood up, waiting for me, his tail wagging languidly. I stroked a hand down through his bristly fur. The open front door revealed a homey living room—not metal boxes or canvas tents. Comfy sofas, covered with crocheted Afghans, lounged on oak floor. Family photos lined the walls, while several candles and a shadowbox rested on the mantelpiece. You’re home. Remember? I stepped forward, hesitated, and then finally entered, Raider close beside. I could already hear Old Man George at the back of the house. With one swift glance around, I followed. That was a folded flag on the mantle. My feet retreated backwards as I re-evaluated my observation. The display case...he lost someone in the military.

“Well? Are ya comin’, or aren’t ya?”

“Coming, sir.” With one last look behind, I left the room. If he didn’t want to bring it up, I wouldn’t ei ther. I knew enough about grief to respect his privacy. I found Old Man George on the back porch lounging in a wooden rocking chair, a plate of pie in his hand. Another piece rested on a plate on the side table. I sat down and dug in. Raider sprawled down on the ground beside me. This view must be spectacular in summer time. A flat yard mowed down stretched back to a heavily forested tree line. I don’t remember Old Man George owning this much land. It’s an awful lot for him to take care of.

“I reckon if you want to come out and shoot sometime, I don’t mind.”

I tried to hide my slight jump. I had forgotten he was here.

“Might be nice to have some of the vermin cleared off the place,” he continued, leaning back into his rocking chair.

I shoved another bite into my mouth and savored the sharp flavor of the cinnamon, mingling with the lighter taste of apple slices and buttery, flaky crust. “Might decide to.”

He nodded amiably. “If that’s settled, these plates need washed.”

I turned to look at him. “Really?”

The old man snorted. “You remind me of my son. Always so precise—everything ‘cept his humor.” His eyes drifted off into the distance, remembering old memories looped together on a reel. “Deployed in Iraq. They gave my daughter-in-law a purple heart. Said he’d served well.”

The knowledge washed over me, cold and quiet. I had come home, but, like so many others, his boy hadn’t. My eyes sought out the tree line again. He should be here, having pie with his father, yet here I am instead. The honor of the moment was only outweighed by the duty now settling deep into my heart. I scratched behind Raider’s ears. “A worthy recognition.” I cleared my throat, trying to rid it of the tightening feeling. “Did you have anything else you wanted to finish today, sir?”

Part Drifter

by Gloria Hunter

Next to the buzzing utility pole at the intersection of 6th Avenue and Alabama Highway 67 in Decatur, Alabama, is a single row of motels that don’t deserve the name. Four or five shabby buildings teeter next to each other, disgracing the street with crumbling roof tiles, sagging awnings, loose shutters, and empty parking lots. The one nearest 6th Avenue is named Nite Fall Inn, a place my brother-in-law, Will, said he wouldn’t be caught dead in any time of the day, much less at nightfall. Just a few crooked parking spaces away is the Village Motel. Here, decrepit doors hang heavy on weak hinges, and only one car is parked slanted in the front drive. Next door is the Extended Stay Inn where neon lights advertise “---ended Stay Inn” and have for at least the last ten or fifteen years I can remember. The few brave lighted letters still clinging to the sign buzz, spit, and sparkle at random intervals, much like the buzzing utility pole near the crosswalk. Scattered haphazardly down the street, even more motels hug alleys between used car lots, gas stations, and the last video rental business in Decatur.

As a child riding past this sketchy strip of road, I often peered from the window of the car hoping to catch a glimpse of someone—anyone—walking in or out of the motels, but I never did. “Who stays there, mom?”


“Where are they?”

“They don’t stay long, honey.”

And that’s as much as I ever talked to mom about that strip of drifter motels, but I kept thinking about it for several years. Drifters. What did they look like? What did they do? Where did they go?

As I grew up, I slowly understood that drifters are a type closely tied to their choice of motel. Actually, every kind of hotel has a type. And if people who stay at the Nite Fall Inn are drifters, then people who stay at Motel 6 are sixers.

Sixers arrive in sixes, usually four kids with two parents who pile out of their minivan under the covered walkway. The dad goes in to pay for a room (just one, because cots come with the room), and double checks at the desk that breakfast will be ready for them to check out by 6 a.m. the next morning. Sixers want six inches of chenille blanket at the end of the bed, take six-minute showers, surf all six channels on the TV, and typically require six hours of uninterrupted sleep. In the morning, sixers pack up their six, square-edged suitcases and proceed to the lobby by 6 a.m., just as promised. After all, they have six hundred more miles to drive. Before they leave, they grab six boxes of Frosted Flakes lined up for them as they leave the lobby. Six voices echo goodbye to the receptionist.







Then they’re gone, until the next time the sixers go on vacation and need a place to stay. They’ll pick another Motel 6. They always do. They’re sixers.

And even though we may have never stayed one night in a Motel 6, we’re all sixers, too. You know why? Because sixers are the classic, the comfortable, the piece that each of us remembers from our childhood. They’re the fun, careless things we used to wear (remember the Faded Glory overalls and white crew socks?) They’re the snippet of a photograph that takes us back to those times we fell out of a tree on July Fourth, stamped our hands in fresh concrete, cut the hair on our teddy bear, and picked ripe tomatoes in the heat of summer.

So if sixers are the classic pieces of us, then continentals are the idyllic parts of ourselves that are rarely as perfect as we envision. People who stay at Hampton Inns are as continental as the hot breakfast they expect waiting for them in the morning. And that hot breakfast includes waffles with the hotel logo stamped into the dough in the center. What sets Hampton Inn waffles apart from other hotel waffles is the can of spray Cool Whip next to the waffle iron on the buffet counter. Any good continental knows that the spray cream is good for so much more than just topping golden waffles, Swiss Miss hot chocolate, and warm cinnamon oatmeal. Spray cream is the ultimate topping for bagels already smeared with strawberry cream cheese, or as a dollop on top of the cubed honeydew and cantaloupe fruit salad. Continentals have even tried stirring spray cream into Yoplait. Their moms don’t mind; they’re on vacation.

Hampton Inn checkout is at noon, so continentals take their time. Four free refills of coffee and two versions of the morning news later, the continental family meanders back up to their room to brush their teeth and saunter back down to check out.

No one leaves Hampton Inns in a rush. It smells too good. Every hall smells like lavender vacuum pods (except the hall with the in-ground pool—it smells like chlorine), every room smells like air-conditioning, and even the ice machine rooms have a distinct fragrance that isn’t all that bad. And the smell of waking up in a Hampton Inn? It’s like slowly falling out of a dream. Continentals understand that just the smell of Hampton Inn is worth going on vacation for.

Continentals are what we all want to be. The continental dream is what we foresee our vacation looking like before we turn the key in the car and back out of the garage before the sun is up. We envision the room to be climate controlled and have wrinkle-free coverlets and spotless sink faucets, but in reality, our clothes still shrink to the size of dryer sheets after first washings, our hair still frizzes in humidity, our face breaks out on picture days, and our Chinese take-out still arrives cold.

If drifters are at one end of the hotel spectrum and sixers and continentals are somewhere in the middle, then ritzers are at the other. They are glamorous, hard to please, no less than posh. They expect things to be expensive because they always are, and they’ve never once considered carrying their own bags.

I was once a ritzer. Notice I said once.

We were staying New Years’ Eve in Chicago. Trudging from the Navy Pier squinting against the icy wind and rain-sized hail, we stumbled in the doors of our hotel, only to have the receptionist inform my icy-eyebrowed family that we had been double-booked and that another family was cozily enjoying the warmth of our bedroom at that exact moment. The hotel was full, he said, but he promised to help us out in some small way, so he gave us vouchers for a partner hotel just downtown. Turns out “just downtown” meant “just the Ritz-Carlton”—the fanciest hotel in downtown Chicago.

The Ritz-Carlton staircase itself was as large as my house, no joke. The ornate patterns did not end with the velveteen carpet and scrolled chair-rail. They ventured up the stairs on mahogany banisters, spilled out over majestic balconies, and protruded in the shape of lion heads on top of marble figures. The doors were arched, not squared. The floors were mirror-like gloss smeared over dark tile that responded to heels like the click of oiled keys on a busy typewriter. Surrounded by the opulence, we were acutely aware of our wet-smelling wool coats, wind-blasted hair, and red, frozen noses.

We padded up the stairs to our room on crimson carpet that dampened our footsteps, the bell boys somewhere in the invisible rear, and found our door with a little useless knocker on the outside. Everything inside the room was expensive. You could tell. It just had that “don’t touch unless you intend to buy” look that scared me as a child. The pillows even had anti-theft devices in the corners to make sure we didn’t leave with them, because I’m sure someone has tried.

All the glitz made my dad nervous. Actually, I think it was all his kids in the middle of the glitz that made him nervous. He just knew we were going to touch something, break something, or open something that would show up on his hotel bill later. Even the innocent-looking water bottles in the kitchenette weren’t safe to touch. “They’re five dollars!” my mom yelled as my little brother reached for one. “Put it back right now and come sit down before you break something that will cost us our retirement.” He sat down. We all did. We weren’t even allowed to touch the Jacuzzi.

Honestly, my dad would not have minded being a posh ritzer for the night, but having so many of his children with him made him jumpy about everything. And I guess I adopted his fear back then. I was pretty happy to get back home where the water bottles didn’t charge us to touch them and the cheese in the refrigerator was there for eating, not looking at, but now that I’m grown up I think my perspective has shifted and now I realize I’m a little more like ritzers than I thought.

Ritzers are the piece of us that loves the fine things of life. They’re the reason we browse fine art galleries but still go home and watch cheap movies and hang thrift store tapestries in the living room. They’re the piece of us that goes to fancy Italian restaurants, but inevitably looks down to see spaghetti sauce dribbled on our white shirts. They’re our love for culture, finesse, French-sounding menu items, and aesthetic wardrobes. The ritzer inside of me is the reason I pay way too much for coffee just because I like the atmosphere of the shop.

Last summer I went home and once again stood next to the buzzing utility pole at the crosswalk of 6th Avenue and Highway 67. While waiting for the light, I risked a childishly curious glance over my shoulder at the crooked row of drifter motels. Nite Fall Inn was still as sketchy as ever. Busted glass had splattered over the asphalt, leaving an odd shimmer to the gloomy scene.

Just as the streetlight changed and I turned to cross the street, I caught a faint glimpse of movement at the Nite Fall Inn. I paused, waiting for a drifter to show himself. A room door opened, and one solitary man drifted across the parking lot, leaving his door ajar, and slanted toward a sign with rotating red lights spelling “Main Office.” He was a drifter all right. Everything about him drifted—his path, his feet, even his eyes.

All my life I had hoped for a glance of a drifter, but now that he was within sight, I was a tiny bit disappointed because he wasn’t really that different from anyone else I’d ever seen. In fact, as he moved across the parking lot, I saw in him something I identified with—perhaps a similar driving force—a little bit of drifter inside of me. Drifters don’t like to stay in one place for long, and neither do I, neither do most of us. We are drawn by an invisible magnet of wanderlust, eager to travel, see sights, but never stay in one place too long.

And while it’s hard to believe that someone who is part ritzer, sixer, and continental can still be part drifter, I know it’s possible to be made up of four parts, because I am.

I’m a ritzer, sixer, continental drifter.

And so are you.


Kristen Lepone

Dramatic Reading

Josh Gallegos


Bethany Roberts



Jordan Blumhardt

Men’s Voice

Patience Huffman

Women’s Voice

Junya Minami

Original Composition

Jeff Newell


Hunter Smith


Geoff Stemen


Hyeji Jeong


Sarah Oziemkiewicz


Edith Howell

Church Music


Dave Ham



Jisu Kim


John Michaud


Jeremy Jap


Emily Haines

Digital Design

Print Design

Scott Crabtree


Allison Hamilton


Spiritual Emphasis:

Studio Art

Emily Kent


Spiritual Emphasis:

Graphic Design

Naomi Ji

Best of Show:

Studio Art

Bradlee Roberts

Best of Show:

Graphic Design

Graduate Art

Jill Mitchell

Graphic Design


Spiritual Emphasis:

Graphic Design

Arielle Perry

Studio Art

Natalie Bell


Spiritual Emphasis:

Studio Art

Deborah Lim

Best of Show:

Studio Art

Gretchen Hurda

Best of Show:

Graphic Design

Published 5/15/2017