May 2014 (5) Candygrams

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Thursday, May 15, 2014---USC Student-Athlete Graduation Celebration

ViewTrojan Candy arrived at Galen Center an hour before the USC Student-Athlete Graduation ceremony started in order to get the "prime seat" for taking pictures. It is the seat at the end of the ramp where the athletic graduates exit the stage. I got it! I can quickly get up and take pictures of the graduates after they are honored.

Since the program was not starting for about an hour, Trojan Candy roamed around in the Galen Center lobby, looking for friends.

Josh ShawThe first friend I saw was Josh Shaw (1/13/2012). Josh will be one of the Senior Speakers in the program. Trojan Candy will include pictures of the graduates, their parents, some speakers and award winners in my article. More pictures are in my Google Plus Album. CLICK HERE TO SEE THE ALBUM.

ProcessionAll of the graduates entered in a procession to the music of Elgar's "Pomp and Circumstance March." CLICK ON THE THUMBNAIL AT THE RIGHT to view the video that I recorded. After they were all seated, the program began.

Max NikiasAthletic Director Pat Haden welcomed all the athletes and guests. He introduced all of the coaches who were sitting on stage.

Then, President C.L. Max Nikias came to the podium. President Nikias advised the athletes to build good relationships, to get a good education and to build a good reputation. He said to live your life with passion everyday.

Helene GalenThen Helene Galen (Galen Center) introduced this year's "Legend of Troy" recipient Don Winston. Friend Don always stopped by the Heritage Hall desk to say, "Hello" when Trojan Candy was volunteering there. He is retiring after thirty-one years working at USC as one of the country's top collegiate fund raisers.

Don WinstonDon spoke next. He told the audience that students often asked him what it means to be a Trojan. To answer that question, he related the story of Trojan Great Louis Zamperini. Trojan Candy wrote about this first "Legend of Troy" recipient on 5/12/2011. Don said that Louis Zamperini is a True Trojan! Happy Retirement and FIGHT ON, Don!

Loudia LaarmanThe first Senior Speaker, Loudia Laarman (3/4/2011), is also a friend. Loudia told the audience how blessed she is to make it to the age of twenty-two. She almost didn't make it to three years old. As a two year living in Haiti, Loudia weighed fifteen pounds. She was suffering from starvation and malnutrition. Her skin was brittle and her hair was orange. Luckily Loudia survived to become an All-American sprinter on the Women of Troy Track Team! Concluding her speech, Loudia quoted her new coach, Caryl Gilbert, "Character is not defined by who we are on the field, but by who we are off it." FIGHT ON, Loudia!

Now it was time to honor each of the graduating student-athletes. Each coach announced his or her sport's graduates. I photographed almost all my Friends.

Women of Troy Track:
Lauren Blackburn
Lauren Blackburn (10/28/2011)
Lauren Chambers
Lauren Chambers (4/29/2010)
Jessica Davis
Jessica Davis (1/21/2011)
Kathryn DeYoung
Kathryn DeYoung
Loudia Laarman
Loudia Laarman
Ashley Liverpool
Ashley Liverpool (10/25/2012)
Kemi Olonade
Kemi Olonade (10/28/2011)
Jenna Puterbaugh
Jenna Puterbaugh (9/23/2010)
Men's Basketball:
Greg Allen
Greg Allen (12/7/2012)
D.J. Haley
D.J. Haley (3/26/2014)
Omar Oraby
Omar Oraby (11/11/2012)
Women of Troy Basketball:
Desiree' Bradley
Desiree' Bradley
Cassie Harberts
Cassie Harberts (4/18/2014)
Kate Oliver
Kate Oliver (4/18/2014)
Rachel Totten
Rachel Totten (4/18/2014)
Michael Arakelian
Michael Arakelian (9/27/2012)
Charles Burks
Charles Burks (8/19/2011)
Nathan Guertler
Nathan Guertler (8/19/2011)
Ryan Henderson
Ryan Henderson
Josh Shaw
Josh Shaw
Randall Telfer
Randall Telfer
Christian Thomas
Christian Thomas
Women of Troy Golf:
Rachel Morris
Rachel Morris (11/18/2010)
Women of Troy Lacrosse:
Ceilidh Meagher and Elizabeth Eddy
Ceilidh Meagher (4/6/2012) and Elizabeth Eddy (9/8/2011)
Women of Troy Rowing:
Erica Christianson
Erica Christianson (4/14/2011)
Jelena Miladinovic
Jelena Miladinovic (12/3/2010)
Vineta Moca
Vineta Moca (10/7/2010)
Kajsa Olsson
Kajsa Olsson (10/18/2010)
Anu Rajendran
Anu Rajendran
Women of Troy Sand Volleyball:
Kirby Burnham
Kirby Burnham (5/6/2013)
Brooke Fournier
Brooke Fournier (5/5/2014)
Sam Hirschmann
Sam Hirschmann (5/5/2014)
Women of Troy Soccer:
Autumn Altamirano
Autumn Altamirano
Haley Boysen
Haley Boysen (10/28/2010)
Mia Bruno
Mia Bruno (9/2/2010)
Allie Harrison
Allie Harrison (12/9/2011)
Elizabeth Eddy
Elizabeth Eddy (9/8/2011)
Can someone please let me know who this is?
Women of Troy Swimming:
Lynette Li
Lynette Li
Men's Volleyball:
Tanner Jansen
Tanner Jansen
Paul Yoder
Paul Yoder
Women of Troy Volleyball:
Natalie Hagglund
Natalie Hagglund
Sara Shaw
Sara Shaw
Men's Water Polo:
Rex Butler
Rex Butler (5/3/2014)
Ivan Kustic
Ivan Kustic (9/8/2011)
Zach Lucas
Zach Lucas (3/29/2012) [Blurry, sorry!]
Mace Rapsey
Mace Rapsey (4/8/2011)
Tommy Van
Tommy Van (5/3/2014) [Blurry, sorry!]
Nikola Vavic
Nikola Vavic (11/16/2012)
Women's Water Polo:
Flora Bolonyai
Flora Bolonyai (3/31/2011)
Olivia Cummins
Olivia Cummins
Kaleigh Gilchrist
Kaleigh Gilchrist
Georgette Hernandez
Patricia Jancso
Patricia Jancso (8/26/2011)
Kelly Mendoza
Kelly Mendoza
Colleen O'Donnell
Colleen O'Donnell
Jennifer Stiefel
Jennifer Stiefel [Blurry, sorry!]
Hannah Buckling
Hannah Buckling

Now, it was time for Senior Speaker Josh Shaw to take the podium. Josh related that both his grandfather's and his father's illnesses prompted his transfer from Florida back to the Palmdale area and eventually to USC. When Trojan Candy first met Josh and interviewed him at Heritage Hall on 1/13/2012, he was commuting to Palmdale during the week and on weekends to run his father's landscaping business. Thank goodness his father has recovered. In closing, Josh gave two words of advice to his fellow graduates. The first was to "Never accept 'No' for an answer, for we are Trojans!" And the second was, "We belong to an amazing network called USC Alumni!" FIGHT ON, Josh!

The Senior Awards were announced by Pat Haden next. The winners of the awards are as follows:

After the Celebration ended, all of the athletes assembled at the stairs south of the Galen Center for a group picture. Naturally, Trojan Candy was one of the first people there with a camera. Real USC photographer and friend Pierson Clair took the group pictures. Here are mine:

Seniors and Coaches
The Senior Athletes with their Coaches.
Seniors and Tutors
The Senior Athletes with their Tutors.
The Senior Athletes.

Congratulations and FIGHT ON, USC Senior Athletes!

Rachel Morris, J.K. McKay, Sophia Popov, and Andrea GastonWalking back to Galen Center for the reception in the Centofante Hall of Fame, Trojan Candy took a picture of a Senior Athlete whom I had missed---Sophia Popov. Rachel Morris and she posed with J.K. McKay and Coach Andrea Gaston. Trojan Candy wished them luck in the upcoming NCAA Women's Golf Tournament. FIGHT ON, Rachel! FIGHT ON, Sophia!

Andy, Jenna, and Gina Puterbaugh
I saw friend Jenna Puterbaugh with her dad Andy and step-mom Gina. Congratulations and FIGHT ON, Jenna!
Sophia Popov Family
Inside the Galen Center south entrance it was very crowded and hot. I took pictures as quickly as I could. I saw Sophia Popov and her family first. FIGHT ON again, Sophia!
D.J. Haley family
Then, I took a picture of the very large D.J. Haley family. FIGHT ON, D.J.!
Josh Shaw Family
Further in the Galen Center, Trojan Candy took this picture of Josh Shaw, his family and his girlfriend Angela Chilton. FIGHT ON, Josh!
Leonie, Mace, and Greg Rapsey
Trojan Candy saw him...friend Mace Rapsey and his mom Leonie and dad Greg. His parents flew all the way from Australia for his graduation. It was so nice to meet them, and it's a privilege knowing Mace! FIGHT ON, Mace!
Hans, Haley, and James Boysen
It was so nice to see friend Haley Boysen. She posed with her brother Hans and James. FIGHT ON, Haley!
Rex Butler and Hannah
Then, Trojan Candy saw Mace's roommate Rex Butler. Rex's water polo locker is the one that Jim and I donated in the Uytengsu Center. Rex posed with his girlfriend Hannah. FIGHT ON, Rex!
Donna, Erica, Ken, and Lauren Christianson
Friend Erica Christianson posed with her family, Donna, father Ken, and mother Lauren. FIGHT ON, Erica!
Jim, Elizabeth, and Janet Eddy
Then Trojan Candy saw very familiar faces. Elizabeth Eddy posed with her grandparents Jim and Janet Eddy. Janet and I are both members of the Trojan Guild of Los Angeles. FIGHT ON, Elizabeth!
Autumn Altamirano and Carol and Tommy Van
Autumn Altamirano posed with her friend Tommy Van and his mom Carol. Sorry that your earlier picture was blurry, Tommy, but I'm making up for it now!
Nancy, Tommy, and Quang Van
Then, Tommy posed with his grandparents Nancy and Quang. FIGHT ON, Tommy!

Jennifer Stiefel FamilyMost of the athletes and their families had left, but Trojan Candy was still looking for friends and their families. I saw Jennifer Stiefel and her mom Diane standing nearby and walked over to take their picture. Diane sat next to us during the Celebration program, and I promised Diane that I would take a picture of Jennifer with her family. Trojan Candy keeps her promises! Here are mom Diane, Aunt Kim, Uncle Steve, dad Eric, Jeremy, Jenny, Don, Hanes, and brother Robbie. FIGHT ON, Jenny!

Mohomed, Tarek, Omar, and Anthony OrabyLast, but not least, Trojan Candy saw friend, rather looked up at friend, Omar Oraby. Omar's family flew in from Cairo, Egypt, for the graduation. Brother Mohomed, dad Tarek, Omar and Uncle Anthony posed for this picture. Congratulations and FIGHT ON, Omar!

What an exciting day! Trojan Candy got to see so many friends! Congratulations and FIGHT ON, to every Senior Student-Athlete!