Tonight, Jack Dunphy, Seth Kaplan and Caroline Kenworthy, among many noteworthy artists, graduated from Chicago Academy of the Arts, full of honors and accolades.
Readers of these humble blogposts would have already been introduced to Jack Dunphy, grandson of yours truly. He is a regular teenager as well as an extraordinary filmmaker, having also dabbled in or made forays into writing, acting, graphic arts, sculpture and stand-up comedy. The "regular teenager" is not a disparagement, but a wonderment, since he seems to have started life with the thoughts of a man aged 60 and has managed to grow younger in outlook as he has grown older in years. I guess now he has to start growing up again. Jack was given the Headmaster's Award, for greatest growth and potential as well as commitment to the Academy and to the arts. This is not the last that the world has heard of Jack Dunphy. And, I hope Jack knows I am not just saying that because I love him very much (I hope he knows that I as well as his grandfather love him very much), and will support him in all that he wants to achieve. He will continue in Chicago at Columbia College.
I do not know Seth Kaplan, but have witnessed his work live at tonight's Commencement ceremony and in Jack's films. He was honored with the Music Department's Award as well as the Academy's Community Service Award. He also wrote, among concertos, operas and jazz pieces, a song about a squirrel that has become a great Academy insider anthem (not being an insider, I have to take everyone's word and screams for it). He appears not only to be very talented, but personable and generous with his time. He is another name to note. I am not sure where he will be continuing, but wish two things: for me, to get a chance to hang with him and for Seth, all the best of good luck.
Let me also talk more about Caroline Kenworthy, to whose extraordinary voice I was first introduced during her Senior Presentation on 31 March 2011. Remember the name, lovers of poetry and all literature. I forgot it (in my early onset way) when I talked about her in April, during our Open Mic Poetry Night. Crisp, insightful words precisely and intricately arranged together like pearls and precious stones sewn among silk and velvet in a headdress -- that is how I would describe Caroline Kenworthy's poetry. One thing about a writing program, one learns the different poetic forms and she can write just as elegantly within the parameters of an elegy as in free form, or maybe I should say it the other way around. Too many writers today -- third-rate hacks like myself, for instance, can only write free form or lyric and not even very gracefully. She was saluatorian of her class (as well as the Media Arts Department Honor Awardee) and gave the most amazing speech tonight on words, beginning with the philosophical posit that words have no meaning, and going on to discuss how unsettling that is to someone who has heard, spoken, read and written so many of them. She talked of how (Frindle-like, although she never mentioned this Clement book) words, like "Academy," "Artist" and "Student," have the meaning upon which we agree they have. She choked us all up with her finish on how linguistically impossible it could be to express her gratitude to the school, its teachers and staff, and her fellow students, but since we have all agreed on a meaning, she could, "Thank You." She continues at Sarah Lawrence College. Wishing you the best of luck, Caroline.
I had asked for a copy of the poems and prose excerpts she read for her Senior Presentation that March night, but have not received it yet (it was to come through that oh, so reliable medium of teenagers "I'll give it to Jack to give to you."). I have a feeling I will need to wait for the published, printed bound copy. I also have a feeling that we won't be waiting long.
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