When Sharing a Story Becomes a Bond

Sometimes, storytelling can serve as the tie that binds individuals to each other –- and to those around them.

Animation student Rafik Vardanyan and Architecture student Benjamin Garcia, can attest to the power of a narrative to engage seemingly everyone it touches — the author, the subject, the reader, and the community at large.

Consider Rafik’s recent piece on Benjamin, originally written in faculty member Mike Sonksen’s “L.A. Stories” class and subsequently published in 7500 Magazine, Woodbury’s student-run cultural publication produced as part of Risa William’s Digital Journalism class. As Sonksen observed, the article is an example of collaboration in action, powerfully knitting together four disparate programs at Woodbury in a single pass: Architecture, Animation, Professional Writing and Communication, which includes the Digital Journalism class that runs 7500 Magazine — and the exceptional camaraderie that exists within the university.

Rafik writes movingly about Benjamin’s discovery of Los Angeles through youth baseball; his family’s fostering 30 kids (and adoption of five); his ultimately successful battle against glaucoma (after “preparing myself for a life without being able to see”); the pivotal role of his high school mentor, who “gave me the confidence to run with my imagination” and whose introduction of Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Falling Water” proved life-changing; and his goal of interning at a firm like Gensler after graduation.

“Throughout my life, I’ve come to realize that not everything goes according to plan,” Rafik quotes Benjamin, as he concludes the piece. “However, if I continue to live each day like it’s my last, my path will unveil itself before me.”

A very Woodbury story indeed.

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