|Graduation Extravaganza: Valedictorians, future superstars, and bizarre figures earn high marks.|
“High School Musical 3” dolls feature the cast members poised for big-time postgraduation acclaim.
Now that it’s mid June, my social calendar is certainly in full bloom. With the weather finally being warmer—and many activities being held outdoors—I finally get the meaning of the term “social butterfly.” Yes, I am really like a butterfly who has emerged from her couch-potato cocoon. Suddenly I am outside for graduation barbecues, graduation lawn parties, graduation deck gatherings, and, of course, the actual graduation ceremonies for middle schoolers and high schoolers. (I don’t have any college grads in my current social coterie.)
The graduates—whether they’re 13 or 18—all seem miraculously young to me. I have to admit that I feel a huge amount of pride and happiness in seeing these onetime little kids who have blossomed into respectful teenagers, as well as young men and women. But I also feel tinges of jealousy. They have their whole lives ahead of them, and I wish I could say the same for me!
Graduation is always couched as the completion of an education. It’s the end of a school career. But look at the doors it is swinging open. For some of the younger grads, the ceremony is simply a bridge to another learning stepping-stone. They have another institution of learning right around the river bend. (In my head, I heard Pocahontas from the Disney movie belting out that really stirring song.) For college grads, it’s the threshold of a brand-new career and identity. Oh, how I do envy them! I think my only shot at a new identity is if I get absorbed into the Witness Protection Program.
As I’ve been attending these ceremonies, I try to mix up the gift-giving. For many folks, cash is still king and queen. They want greenbacks to help chase away the summertime blues. For others, a card and a sentimental or sweet present is the way to commemorate their grand achievement.
Dollmakers have long understood the importance of donning that cap and gown, and a whole auditorium’s worth of these dolls has been manufactured over the decades. It’s interesting to see how the grads have been sculpted and garbed. Many are rather spot-on depictions of rosy-cheeked, well-scrubbed teenage faces. But then there are the rather amusing, outlandish ones: the Troll with the unmanageable hair springs to mind. You have to hope he/she didn’t get a degree from cosmetology school. Another quirky one is the Kewpie doll, who is clad in serious black robes and cap. Did he get his bachelor’s degree in adorability? It’s quite plausible.
In addition to the “Pomp and Circumstance” musical theme that dramatically plays at most graduations as the students slowly file down the aisles, another omnipresent theme has been emerging of late. Dr. Seuss’s “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” is a cheerleading send-off for all graduates. It gives heartfelt, rhyming advice and inspires students whether they are moving from pre-K to kindergarten or high school to college.
As a matter of fact, the seemingly nonsensical alliterations and whimsical text are so inspirational, it could be recited at job promotion parties, bon voyage farewells, and, heck, even retirement gatherings.
So, even though I got my bachelor’s degree too many moons ago, I’m going to take a page from the humorous and earnest doctor’s advice book:
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go . . .
You’re off to great places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So . . . get on your way!”
Congratulations to graduates and their families everywhere! May your journeys be filled with wisdom and whimsy. After all, being bright without a bright disposition and bright smile won’t get you anywhere. Oh, the places you’ll go!
The 2015 DOLLS Awards of Excellence Industry’s Choice winners (DAEs, also called the Diamond Awards) were announced at the International Doll & Teddy Bear Show in Asheville, N.C., June 6. The Industry's Choice winners will go on to become the nominee's in the Public's Choice voting, set to begin in late June.
Without further ado, here are the winners of this year's Industry's Choice Diamond Awards!
The Jones Publishing Lifetime Achievement Award is bestowed upon one recipient per year. This award was created in 2002 in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the introduction of the teddy bear, with the first recipient being Steiff, a German-based plush toy company known for its high quality and prices.
The Lifetime Achievement recipient must be or have been involved in some aspect of the doll and/or teddy bear field for a minimum of 25 years. The recipient may be an individual, partnership, corporation, company, author, artist, marketer, historian or any other industry professional. Lifetime Achievement Award nominations may be made by previous recipients or members of the LAA committee.
To qualify as a nominee, entrants must meet the following criteria:
The Lifetime Achievement Award has been presented to the following individuals and companies since its inception:
2003 Hildegard Gunzel
2004 Alexander Doll Company
2005 R. John Wright
2006 Wendy Lawton
2007 Virginia Turner
2008 Toy Shoppe
2010 Helen Kish
2012 Maggie Iacono
2013 Heidi Plusczok
2014 Jack Johnston
2015 Kaye Wiggs
August 8, 2014 - Blackall Associates Inc. is proud to announce the winner of its Summer Heat Photo Contest. The contest drew entries from around the world. Masterpiece Doll collectors sent in a special photo showing how their Masterpiece Dolls were enjoying the summer heat.
You haven’t seen a toy show until you’ve seen this one. Six buildings! Over six hundred exhibitors! Exclusively toys and dolls and children’s playthings on display everywhere! This is the show everyone always says they intend to visit, and now is the time to do just that. Collectors say the Chicago Toy Show really is the largest in the entire world. They are correct. Collectors say they find toys at this show that are never seen anywhere else. Correct again.
19 April 2014 – 5 October 2014
A special exhibition will take place at the Toy Worlds Museum Basle to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Japanese-Swiss diplomacy and friendship.