“It was a full circle moment for me,” says Odyssey alum Hedi Rudd ’12, as she snapped pictures of the graduating Class of 2021 and their families. “I remember the day my class got our photos taken and how good I felt about myself. I cried. Now nine years later as the photographer, I want to bring out the personality of each student and for them to look back with pride.”
An award-winning photographer, Hedi now serves as director of Badger Rock Neighborhood Center and won the 2019 Nan Cheney Social Justice Award for her work in the community, leading to the mayor announcing a “Hedi Rudd Day” in Madison.
She looks back at Odyssey with gratitude: “Odyssey helped me find my passion and purpose and connected me to a community where I feel a sense of belonging. It’s an educational program, but it’s also home, it’s friendships, it’s resources and breakthroughs. It helped me to center myself and to find my way.”
Following COVID-19 protocols to keep everyone safe, a masked Hedi took photos of students and their families one at a time — and from a social distance. The Class of 2021 was the first-ever Odyssey class NEVER to meet in person, which made having “real” photos rather than Zoom screenshots a special treat. “I love love love these photos!” one single mother exclaimed.
Thanks to our donors for making it possible to include photos in our graduation gift bags. It’s not too late to help us cover the costs of graduation and support our glorious celebration of the Class of 2021.