Obviously, there’s a whole convention worth of things to talk about but that’s all for a later post when I have more time. The important item at the moment is letting you know the name of the winner of the very first “’Ringo” scholarship award. So without further ado, I give you...
Katelyn Rochelle, who prefers to go by her middle name, Rae.
Fortunately, Rae was able to make it to the Heroes Convention in Charlotte for the official announcement, just prior to the annual art auction at the Westin Hotel. Suzanne and I got to hang out with her all day on Saturday and found her to be very polite, sweet and charming. We took her around to meet a few of Mike’s friends who offered her some free, friendly advice. Todd Dezago, being Todd Dezago, teased her at every opportunity.
This was her first convention so it was a lot to take in but she seemed to have a good time. There was a S.C.A.D. booth set up where Tom Lyle, one of her instructors, was appearing and I think it helped her to have some friendly, familiar faces around. Not that she was any shrinking violet. She charmed the socks off everyone.
When we made the announcement, it was to rousing applause (for which we were immensely grateful) and I think everyone in the room was taken with her. Rae had to leave early the next morning so we said our goodbyes after the auction and Suzanne and I agreed (and I hope Rae will forgive us for feeling a little paternal toward her that very emotional evening) that it felt like we were sending our daughter out into the world.
When Suzanne and I started this scholarship in Mike’s memory, we thought it would be easy to choose the winner. We assumed we’d get the portfolios from the three finalists and one would stand out above all others immediately and that would be that. But this was not meant to be. I guess the finalists wouldn’t have been finalists if there wasn’t something there and the decision was very difficult, almost heart-breaking. We wish we could have given the award to all three but we couldn’t. We had to decide on one person and, with the generous help of our rotating panel of judges, we very rightly chose Rae.
After graduation, she wants become a comic book artist. When we asked her if she had a specific genre in mind, she paused a moment and said she’d like to draw something in horror. Maybe with werewolves.
Anyone who knows me would have to wonder...could this get any more perfect?
Actually, yes it could. Tom Lyle informed us on Sunday that people were stopping by the S.C.A.D. booth that morning, requesting sketches from the winner of the Mike Wieringo Scholarship. I think Mike would be very proud of that.
Katelyn Rae Rochelle. Remember that name. I think you’ll be hearing it a lot in a couple years.
Good luck, Rae. You deserve it.
Looney Tunes variant by Darwyn
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