The winding staircase of the majestic Tudor known as Shuman Hall, on the Rockland County campus of Nyack College, was the perfect backdrop for the procession of 17 beautifully gowned women introduced to the audience awaiting their entrance into President’s Hall.
“This was the ninth annual Crossing Over Ceremony and the last one in Shuman Hall, but I wasn’t sad for leaving the Hillside,” explains Dr. Amy Davis Abdallah, founder of the rites of passage program, Woman. “I wasn’t sad because I know that Woman will continue at Nyack on the New York City campus. Even more important, because these women of valor have put in the work of personal transformation, they will be vessels of the empowerment that Woman stands for throughout their lives and they will contribute powerful influence wherever they go. I couldn’t be more proud,” says Dr. Davis Abdallah.
Fearful. Hiding. Never enough. Anxious. Unimportant. Ashamed. These are some of the words that the graduates used to describe who they were when the program started last September. Nine months later, the audience heard expressions of confidence, boldness, healing, strength, honor and self-worth in the songs, poems, illustrations and dance the women performed. The “before and after” snapshots of their lives spoke volumes about the program’s impact.
These words from the affirmation are a vivid exclamation point to a statement of self-discovery: “We are blessed women of God, who will continue on this journey called womanhood, realizing our identity through relationship with God, self, others, and creation….We will not stop asking the Holy Spirit to bring about deep change, receiving full understanding of ourselves in the image of God, learning and valuing the positive biblical story of women and femininity, emulating the actions and characteristics of women in Scripture, and praying in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.”
Congratulations to this year’s new alumnae: Kaelah Byrom, Joanna Paola Carrasco, Katherine Connolly, Joanna Marie Corl, Jennifer Cunio, Michaela Dolium, Sarah Dunlap, McKenzie Evans, Samantha Hidalgo, Kaelan Hoppe, Evelyn Faith Immitt, Marvele Jean-Baptiste, Kyndra Moser, Phaydora Sainvil, Nina Sechang, Moriah Spencer and Darcie Woodford!