On May 1, 2017, the Bucksbaum Early Entrance Academy’s inaugural class gathered to celebrate the successful completion of their first year at the University of Iowa. The afternoon was filled with reflections, peer tributes, dessert trays, and a few surprises.
Susan Assouline, director of the Belin-Blank Center, Jan Warren, Assistant Director for Student Services, David Gould, Administrator, Bucksbaum Academy, and Kristin Wurster, Graduate Assistant, reminisced about what this group of students has meant to them. While acknowledging the students’ academic achievements, an emphasis was placed on highlighting their generous and kindhearted nature. Dr. Assouline also made a special point of challenging the group to continue looking for ways to direct their gifts toward the service of others.
Building a sense of community has been a focal point of the students’ first year experience. In that spirit, the students concluded the semester by sharing some memories of their own. Taking turns, each student focused on one of his or her peers. Filled with appreciation, praise, and a bit of humor, it was evident just how close this class has become.
The gathering concluded with a few surprises. Each student received a portfolio filled with remembrances from the year, along with a “Baum Squad” t-shirt. (The “Baum Squad” was a nickname the students began calling themselves last fall.) And finally, Dr. Assouline and Jan Warren unveiled a class photo of the students that will hang in the Belin Blank Center. At the bottom of the frame is the mission statement the students wrote on their first day.