An incredible weekend

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 1, 2003

Imagine, if you will, a group of die-hard Alabama and Auburn fans singing the University of Notre Dame fight song with sincere gusto. (Odd…)

Then there was the Kenyan version of Wayne Brady (that multi-talented guy from ‘Whose Line is It Anyway’) chatting about the charms of the Camellia City like an absolute pro before WAKA’s cameras.


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The most memorable thing MIGHT be the moment Ann Daughtry unleashed a blood-curdling scream…just before a poker-faced Dr. Bill Hamilton ever so adroitly removed a certain hot and flaming basket from Jill Stallworth’s delicious spread (said basket and napkin had ventured a little too close to the Sterno.)

Sure, Jill’s lovely table now bears some unlovely scorch marks and Nancy Idland’s borrowed tablecloth is currently more ‘hole-y than righteous’, but it didn’t stop the fun.

(Jill: &uot;Hey, it’s only a table…I wanted to refinish it anyway.&uot;)

What can I say?

It was that kind of weekend—one in which a group of students from across the country (and the world) strongly bonded with new &uot;families&uot; and friends made in the Camellia City.

As Jill might have said, &uot;All these great kids are much more important than some dumb old table.&uot;

Six young men and six young women—all bright, talented and charming—made up the group of &uot;Fighting Irish&uot; students of architecture who winged their way to Alabama last Thursday, returning to South Bend on Monday.

During a whirlwind weekend, this &uot;dynamic dozen&uot; could be seen on the streets of Greenville, documenting the buildings as they measured, took notes and sketched, sketched, sketched.

&uot;People would honk their horns and wave at us all the time…we didn’t expect that,&uot; noted Midland, Texas native Ryan Duffy with a grin.

In fact, the project team said they were &uot;overwhelmed&uot; by the southern hospitality shown to them by the denizens of the Camellia City from the word ‘go.’

&uot;We’ve all gained about ten pounds…we draw, we eat…we draw, we eat some more,&uot; laughed several of the students.

&uot;Cheese grits…oh, YES,&uot; said Chicago’s Matt Cummings.

M.G., the voluble Kenyan student, praised the &uot;excellent southern cuisine&uot; for the Montgomery news media.

He and Katie Borchardt were cheered for their on-camera interviews viewed on the 10 p.m. broadcast Sunday night.

The families playing host to the students were truly sad to see the weekend draw to an end.

&uot;Steiner is beside himself…he has loved being with these kids, he thinks they are his playmates now,&uot; noted Mary Ann Hamilton (who had to go home and console her sobbing son Sunday night).

&uot;We have all really bonded with these kids.

They are just such a wonderful group.

We are so impressed with their ability and enthusiasm—and aren’t they just cute,&uot; enthused proud host mom, Magoo Hamilton, with a maternal twinkle.

So, cheers, cheers for old Notre Dame…can’t wait to see their completed plans for our fair city!