Clarissa Halat came to visit me several days ago. If you have been reading the blog regularly, you might remember that I have posted about Clarissa before. Clarissa was one of my Jewelry and Metalsmithing students and she took numerous courses with me. She moved to Minneapolis after graduation but occasionally she stops in to visit when she's in town. Though this time, Clarissa made a special trip down to see me before I leave for Boone. I was moved that she would do this. We had a wonderful time catching up and talking as we always do. I have mentioned this before, but Clarissa has a special soul. She is inherently kind and thoughtful beyond her age. She has an intense wisdom and clarity of her inner soul and what is important in life. Clarissa has started a new website and I am sure you will gain more insight into her thoughts by visiting it.
In addition, during this visit, Clarissa gifted me with one of the necklaces she made during her BFA thesis exhibition. I simply was moved to tears. I have loved this work ever since Clarissa completed it. I totally "lost it" when she gave this necklace to me. I know what went into this work and remember vividly working one late night in the studio with Clarissa, Aaron, and Emily to assist Clarissa with making display for her thesis show. We had a blast that night even though is was a stressful time for Clarissa. These pieces were so special to me at the time and they mark a special relationship that Jill and I have always felt with Clarissa. Jill and I keep a fairly private life outside of school and we like a bit of a separation, but from time to time, students break through that barrier and we get seriously attached. Even though Jill doesn't always meet all of the students, she senses my connection through the stories and conversations about many of the relationships with students at school. We feel like we have many older children that are off in the world doing their own thing and living their lives and they fill us with great pride and joy when we get to see them again. We love to hear of their successes in discovering their God given talents and what they're meant to do in life. Clarissa is one of those special adult children that we feel a special bond with, so it is so meaningful and dear to us to receive this gift from her.
Clarissa reminds me that teaching is about more than teaching students a skill or imparting specific knowledge. Teaching is really about discussing and demonstrating how to be a person that contributes to society in a positive and meaningful way, by using ones abilities to impact others. It's interesting though, in looking back, how many of my students have impacted me in such a positive manner. Clarissa is one of those special students. For that, I thank you Clarissa!