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The students of Altos de Chavón School of Design gathered at the Plaza Chavón on a warm, sunny day on Friday May 13th to celebrate their 32nd graduation. Since around two in the afternoon, the students congregated around the St. Stanislaus Church for rehearsal, excitedly chatting about their final moments of school and looking forward to their future plans.
At around 7:30 p.m. commencement began, and in primary-colored robes each representing the school of study, red for Fashion Design, yellow for Communication Design, and blue for Fine Arts and Illustration, the students marched in to the tune of “Libertad,” sung by Nana Mouskauri. Followed by a welcome from Carmen Lorente, the master of ceremonies who is also the director of special projects in the New York office of the school, introduced the special guests and Padre Raysi Guerrero Castillo Párroco who blessed the students on this significant day.
It was Ambassador James Wally Brewster who gave the introductory graduation speech followed by Joel Towers, Executive Dean of Parsons School of Design, along with Gisele Sangiovanni, Amy Hussein, and Richard Kessler. Ambassador Brewster expressed his pleasure to visit the school often and witness the extraordinary talent among the students: “I applaud you in the Altos de Chavón school for being on the vanguard of international innovation in the Dominican Republic but also around the world.” He advised to the newly graduating class to find the human connection: “As an artist, you are privileged in that ability to communicate creatively… Don’t lose sight of human connection or engaging with your peers and also with your audience. I agree with Steve Jobs, ‘The only way to do great work is to love what you do.'”
This was the final year the Fashion and Communication Design programs walked in the ceremony procession here on the cobbles. These fields of study will continue at the school’s urban campus in Santo Domingo, providing a closer location to the technical industries in which they serve. Recently, Stephen Kaplan gave us a look into what can be newly expected at their Chavón home.
Friends, family, and teachers witnessed this important milestone in the students lives, as one by one they each made their way across the stage, proudly accepting their technical degrees from Rector Stephen Kaplan. The number of Altos de Chavón School of Design graduates has grown steadily over the last few years with 26 students graduating in the field of Fashion Design, 19 in Communication Design, and 27 in Fine Arts. An impressive number of these students earned honors, and notably Gloria Mejía Melo and Rossana Ruggeri Yústiz graduated Summa Cum Laude.
At the heart of the commencement activities were the senior’s art and fashion exhibitions, having taken place the Wednesday before in the Davidoff Studios and The Gallery in Altos de Chavón. Gorgeous work showcased the talent exemplified in this artistry town by the students who will no doubt carry this throughout their lives and into their individual lines of work. At the end of the ceremony, which concluded with the song, “Rumba Azul” by Caetano Veloso, the students made their way, diploma in hand, with their guests to the The Gallery and Davidoff Studios where all enjoyed a refreshing cocktail reception and final exhibition.
Congratulations to the graduates!! We look forward to following your careers and hearing your success stories as you go out into the world.
The following photos were taken by Alfredo Esteban on Friday, May 13th at the 32nd graduation of the Altos de Chavón School of Design Class of 2016: