you have touched my heart & my life
like no other student in the 36 years since I've been teaching.
You came to me as a shy 7th grader
who stood out because of your creativity on each and every assignment.
I definitely took notice.
Who was this youngster who was thriving,
hardworking and respectful,
who clearly had a gift?
Little did I know at the time
what a big part of my life you would become.
saw it too.
She watched you blossom into a young artist in a short 8 weeks
in that 7th grade class.
You both were hooked.
So much so
that your mother fought to have you in my classes
all six years of your Whitney career.
You were the first!
No parent had ever convinced a counselor,
at the # 1 Academic High School in the State of California,
# 10th in the Nation,
to allow their child to take six straight years of art & crafts.
But then no one had ever come up against Joodhi Sood :)
With your mother in our corner there was no one to stop us.
So let's list those classes shall we:
7th Grade - Art Wheel
8th Grade - Beginning 3-D Art
9th Grade - Intermediate 3-D Art
10th Grade - Special Studies 3-D Art
11th Grade - Advanced 3-D Art
12th Grade - Beginning 2-D Art
You have pushed yourself harder than any student I've ever had,
and made many of the most important art pieces to come out of Whitney High School.
We know this because when you took your Portfolio to Portfolio Days,
the colleges reps. were blown away by what you had created and built.
They told you that no other high school student
was doing anything even remotely close to what you were pulling off.
And in addition,
you continued to take a full academic load as well.
You are quite a woman Karisma Dev.
Your mother has instilled in you one of the best work ethics I've ever seen
in one so young.
Not only that,
she has raised you to be one of the most disciplined,
honest and responsible people I've ever met.
She has also taught you to be a strong and independent woman
who can take care of herself,
as you are doing now at Syracuse University in Upstate New York
where you earned yourself a full scholarship ride
as an Architecture Major.
No easy feat!!
One of my fondest memories was made with you this year
when you asked me to accompany you to receive your prestigious scholarship award
given to you by the AAA& E (Asian American Architects & Engineers)
at the Los Angeles Millennium Biltmore Hotel.
What an honor that was to accompany you on that special evening,
getting ourselves all gussied up,
to watch you get up and give your thank you speech to over 1000 adults,
some of who will eventually be your contemporaries & mentors.
I was bursting with pride.
My second favorite memory was this summer,
being your special guest on stage
at your Arangetram,
your 3 hour dance performance that you've been studying for
since you were 3 years old.
What a treat that was for me.
It showed me a whole other side to you that I couldn't even phantom.
But it also reinforced where so much of your training and discipline has come from.
Your strength of character,
your work ethic,
and your creativity are going to take you far.
That's a given.
I'm so thrilled to have been a part of your life for so many years Karisma,
and feel so blessed to have had you pass thru my classroom doors.
I feel like my life as an art teacher is complete now,
that everything that will come after you is icing on the cake.
I could retire tomorrow knowing that I have taught the best of the best.
I love you with all my heart Karisma,
and I so look forward to what you will create from here on out.
And I also pray that I live long enough to see your work published in Architectural Digest.
Because I know that's where your journey will take you.
Dear Friends for Life!!