Posts Tagged ‘film studies’

Coupeville’s Sebastian Wurzainer, here with sister Tia, is a valedictorian at Dartmouth. (Lisa Wurzrainer photo)

The kid’s alright.

Back in his Coupeville High School days, Sebastian Wurzrainer worked at the family restaurant, Christopher’s on Whidbey, while also finding time to be the world’s hardest-working soccer manager.

On game days, he would perch up in the old, bee-infested CHS press box, calling out plays and celebrating goals as the PA announcer.

Once or twice, his joy in honoring those who put the ball in the back of the net, regardless of whether they wore a Wolf uniform or not, got him some good-natured blowback from his classmates.

Sebastian … you can’t celebrate for the other team!!”

“Yes, yes, I’ll remember that next time,” Wurzrainer would respond, and then the next time the opposing team scored, he would bellow out “GOOOOOOAAAALLLL” once again, slight smile on his face.

Sebastian has never done anything halfway, and that’s a big reason he would land on any list of the smartest students to ever walk the hallways in Cow Town.

If you need any proof of that, just look to today’s graduation at Dartmouth College, where Wurzrainer was one of six valedictorians for the Class of 2020.

This ain’t no community college in Palookaville we’re talking about here.

It’s freakin’ Dartmouth, the cream of the Ivy League, the ninth-oldest institution of higher education in the USA (thanks Wikipedia!), and a place where all the students are too smart to even think about using the word ain’t.

And now Wurzainer is walking out the door with a 4.0 career GPA, a degree in Film and Media Studies, and the goal of obtaining his Ph.D. and becoming a professor and researcher.

The guy who I once talked movies with in that bee-infested press box is bound for the MA program in Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Southern California, which is about as big-time as you can get in the field.

Sebastian came to Dartmouth with a plan to write and direct films professionally, but took a different route after a first-term film history course.

“I immediately found myself engrossed in the theoretical and historical aspects of film studies,” he wrote in his graduation note.

“In the intervening years, I have become increasingly interested in the way that films simultaneously reflect and shape the ideology and psychology of the cultures that produce and receive them.

“I had the opportunity to explore these ideas in depth in a senior thesis that examined how the human brain makes sense of editing in classical Hollywood films.”

Reading that takes me back to those press box days with him.

I was a video store lifer with no more video stores to live in, content to ramble on about cheesy, oddball musicals like Bugsy Malone and Shock Treatment.

Sebastian, at 16, was in a different world however, already breaking down serious cinema like Schindler’s List in a way which would have blown away film scholars.

One of us was content to flick dead bees out the open-air press box window, trying to hit the fans sitting below, while the other one of us was getting ready to take the Ivy League by storm.

Proud of you, Mr. Wurzrainer.

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