Mon. Jul 26th, 2021

Once a Juggler is a virtual gallery of 70 student voices from the Class of 2021 which was compiled over the course of this academic year, as a way of marking this time a little differently than usual. There is a unique balance of humour and deep reflections in these recordings – a must listen, and fantastic keepsake. So, sound on and enjoy.

By | Adriana Deconceicao

This was always going to be a different kind of year. Understanding this early, Ms. Chan came up with the idea of a Virtual Gallery for the graduates, their families, and those in the Notre Dame community to peruse and enjoy.

Ms. Chan “wanted to make something of this time which would speak for itself and honour a few things worth remembering.” A lot of thought was given over the pandemic year in how this would be executed and Ms. Chan, the official curator, asked her husband to construct a custom-built website to accommodate how she envisioned this gallery to function.

Having been given a sneak peek, I was able to see how the website will operate once it goes live. On the home page, (of both the App and the Desktop versions), there is a short description of what the website contains and a request for an access code. When a student has the correct access code and inputs it, full access to the gallery is provided.

Once access is granted, the first thing to appear is a splash page that features the pictures of 5 graduates at a time, with the option to scroll either right or left by clicking arrows on either side of the screen. Very copesetic.

The first thing that can be noticed about the graduates is that they are not arranged in alphabetical order. Ms. Chan deliberately made this decision to encourage browsing. In order to track down a certain student, there’s a search function in the upper right corner for the user to utilize.

By mousing the cursor over a black and white portrait will prompt it to change to a colour picture indicating it is now active. The minimalist design was chosen to be both contemporary and timeless. In its construction, Ms. Chan ascertained that the site would be mobile friendly so that there were no digital limitations preventing certain individuals from accessing the site.

Ms. Chan was able to collect these grad recordings primarily through her English classes from each quarter and had assistance from Mr. De Santis throughout. Those who had already taken an English course in the previous year were reached out to through email and through Google Classroom so that they too could participate in this important endeavour.

The instruction given to each student was to format their individual “valedictions” in a certain way so that they would all be cohesive. The point was to give every grad an opportunity to say their goodbyes separate from the Valedictorian speech at Commencement which gives one student the privilege of speaking on behalf of the entire graduating class.

Participation in this project was entirely voluntary. Ultimately, seventy grads are represented in Once a Juggler.

The site will be made available to Grads and Staff first; the wider Notre Dame community will also be able to access the gallery after June 16.  

On behalf of the graduating class of 2021, a huge thank you to Ms. Chan and a shout-out to her husband, for this wonderful gift. We will treasure the individual voices and collective memories this site will provide for all Jugglers.

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