It is a bittersweet time of year. That being graduation.
It's been about a week now since Penn State graduated its Class of 2013. I myself didn't graduate, but I cannot believe how quickly this year has passed by and how many new people I have met this year alone. It hasn't fully hit me yet, but a lot of my good friends will not be returning next year as they move into the 'Real World' and start their new jobs all over the country. Some of these friends I have known for years and others I had the pleasure of meeting this year - one of which was Natalie Osborn.
Natalie and I met through my THON Committee Blue Steele this past year, and as a fun-loving, enthusiastic, and caring volunteer, Natalie quickly became a strong presence within our Committee. Having been the Captain of this wonderful group of volunteers, I had the pleasure of meeting several outstanding Penn State students; however, Natalie had this love and compassion for these children that was amazing to watch. She cared about these children in so many ways and truly represented THON's mission - For The Kids.
After just meeting Natalie, I learned that she was a Senior majoring in Education and currently student teaching at a local school in Centre County. She had applied and been accepted into a special teaching program for her Senior year at Penn State and absolutely fell in love with this job from the moment she started. As we spoke in Starbucks for the first time, her face lit up as she shared her future endeavors as a teacher, and I could tell from this first interaction that she had a true passion for teaching and influencing these children's lives.
The year flew by and as we approached the end, Natalie asked me to photograph her graduation photos, which I was thrilled about. We planned on meeting mid-afternoon one Saturday to capture these pictures and I believe we covered every square inch of campus. It was awesome. The sun was shining, flowers had just begun blooming, and as an added bonus, we received free Creamery ice cream from her roommate midday. She had planned on shooting different locations throughout campus, as did I, but I have to say that my favorite shots came from the impromptu visions of random spots that I had often overlooked.
This day will be unforgettable in my mind and I can only imagine how emotional it was as we revisited some of her oldest memories on campus, such as her freshman dorm Mifflin Hall. As we finished our session at the Shields' Building, where her weekly Lion Scout meetings were held, I think it finally hit me that Natalie was graduating within the week.
While it saddens me to see her leave our school behind, I know deep down she is going to make a truly amazing and inspirational teacher. I would just like to say thank you for inspiring me on our Committee this year, and good luck with everything you do in the future Natalie, I know you are going to do great things in life!
**Check out the rest of this album on my Portraiture page under Bittersweet Melodies**