Highschool graduation is a time of hope, a time of reflection and a turning point from the transition from child to new adulthood. It's looking forward to a summer of fun with friends to ensure that those bonds made in high school stay strong when everyone goes their separate ways. It's late nights, long talks, and a ton of reminiscing. And it's those times together that make for the best memories. Being present for Derek's graduation party at Heinz History Center was an amazing night of fun and laughs and it will be remembered forever!

When Derek's mom Desiree asked me months ago to photograph his graduation party, I was so excited to see what she had planned for the evening. This was no ordinary graduation party. It was so well planned down to EVERY detail to celebrate Derek!! Events like this are a once in a lifetime thing and I want to capture every detail. I want the family to look back on their photos and not only remember the event but remember how they felt when that particular photo was taken.

No detail was left undone. The tables were elegantly styled with family photos, photos of Derek growing up and photos of him swimming for Shaler. The sweets table was adorned with 2022 chocolate covered pretzels and beautifully handcrafted chocolate covered strawberries with tiny diplomas and graduation caps designed by Desiree's friend Stevie. A custom neon sign was specially crafted to hang on the backdrop where a photo would be taken with each of the guests that entered. The event planners for the evening were amazing to work with and they made sure the party went off without a hitch.

The Heinz History Center has a beauty all it's own , rich in Pittsburgh history blended with several floors of fun activities to do. I mean, not many museums have a trolley car right in the middle of the party! With that said, the unique beauty in the building adds what I like to call an "industrial elegant" vibe which is the perfect setting for a party. As the guests finished eating the beautifully prepared foods, it was time to start the slideshow.

The music combined with the photos produced a lot of tears! The love Derek's family and friends have for him was overwhelming! It was so great to meet people from New Jersey, L.A., Nashville and Chicago that came to celebrate him! Watching the photo slide show of him as an infant, toddler and all the way through grade school and high school was so touching. And it's a good reminder to ALWAYS take the picture. Whether it's a fun vacation or just everyday moments, ALWAYS TAKE THE PICTURE. These photos tell a story of a life well lived with fun, family and friends. The photos tell a story of a child that has grown into an amazing young man, ready for new adventures.

Derek, I wish you the absolute best as you move on to becoming a master plumber. You are a kind and respectful young man (thanks for going along with ALL of my photo ideas!) and I know you will do great things!! Desiree- a HUGE thank you for trusting me for capturing these memories for you!! May you all make many new memories and have many new adventures together!!