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Friday, May 7, 2010

A light on the bridge (ECW, part 2)

The anticipation that accompanies the Candlelight Crossover is like that of a little kid waiting for the fireworks on Independence Day.

There's going to be lots of cheering, lots of noise, lots of color, and lots of pretty lights. And it all happens after the sun goes down. At least that's the way the Crossover's gone for the four previous crossovers I've attended.

But not this year. Oh, there was still lots of cheering (and smiling and hugging), lots of noise, and lots of color ... courtesy of a very snazzily dressed student body (although there were some t-shirt and cargo shorts-types, too).

And there were also lots of pretty lights, courtesy of the more than 750 candles (and candleholders) that crossed over the Houston Mill bridge. Perhaps the only difference was that we started at 8:20 p.m., a bit earlier than previous years. The sun hadn't gone down yet.

At first, the early start felt premature--one of the most dramatic scenes of the entire school year is the glow of the candles beginning as a mere speck on the far side of the bride. Slowly but surely that speck brightens and brightens until the bridge almost catches visual fire from the scores of alumni to be crossing over.

I was concerned the daylight might mute that drama, but it wasn't the case. The Class of 2010 was just as excited--more excited in a lot of ways--than their forebears. I can't remember the last time I was asked to take so many pictures.

More than 130 alumni (many of them Young Alumni who had crossed over in previous years) joined a smorgasbord of staff, faculty, and administrators lined up, candles in our own hands to welcome them to the alumni side of the bridge.

Wave after wave of students arrived, finally subsiding at about 10 minutes 'til 9. By then it was pitch dark. After snuffing out their candles (some students hung on to theirs as a souvenir), they looped around the Miller-Ward Alumni House and headed straight for the dessert reception. The chocolate fountains and tasty snack cakes and cookies hung on until about 10:00 p.m. The place cleared out around 10:01 p.m.

The night was over for us. For the Class of 2010, I'm sure it was just beginning.

--Eric Rangus, director of communications, EAA

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