Full Circle

Susan Hardie
Assistant Professor, Art Design and Multimedia Instructor

“Never discourage anyone who continually makes progress, no matter how slow.” — Plato

We are not often privileged to know the rest of the story for our students but knowing that we walked with them for a time, listened and hoped to inspire, is what can make the difference.

For this piece, we will call the student Stephanie.

Stephanie was one of the older students in the class. She worked and went to school part-time, most likely putting herself through college. Being the only female in the class one would think she would be intimidated. I was. Not Stephanie, or at least she did not show it. Stephanie was a gifted artist and she knew comics. Stephanie, like many of her classmates, did not necessarily have a career path mapped out but she had a passion for her craft.

I certainly was kept on my toes that semester, researching to develop the course and keeping a step ahead of my students. I gave Stephanie and her classmates a context and structure for their art. In return Stephanie and that lively group of creative misfits gave me respect, and appreciation. More importantly they shared their concerns and perspective. As my very first class at LCC, Stephanie and her classmates oriented me to seeing LCC . . . through the student’s eyes. It is because of that class that I remain at LCC and am compelled to be a student advocate.

By the end of the semester, those students were a community with certain credit given to Stephanie’s charisma and leadership. Students with Stephanie’s skill and dedication ‘raise the bar’ for a class. She had the perseverance to achieve what she set her mind to do, and was always receptive to learning and sharing her ideas. I knew she had talent, but more is required. Being an artist, that is not the easiest path to follow, or survive.

Ten years passed when I next saw Stephanie. She approached me in the Gannon Commons portfolio in hand asking if I remembered her. How could I not? It turns out Stephanie re-enrolled at LCC to prepare her portfolio for admission to MSU art department. I was so pleased that her path came full circle. She is now in her second year and doing amazing work in ceramics, jewelry . . . and comics.