Originally created 11/26/03

Davidson feature turns up graduate



Behold the prodigal son, er, daughter.

On Sept. 28, The Augusta Chronicle ran a feature on the first John S. Davidson Fine Arts School graduating class. We were able to locate 13 of the 14 students in that class, with only a single student, Michelle Beach, left missing.

Until now.

Steve Hebert, a South Carolina reader, saw our story and contacted the former Miss Beach's - now Crawford's - brother in Germany. He in turn contacted the newspaper with the former Davidson student's e-mail address, and the connection was made. Here's what's happened with the quiet girl from the front row.

Michelle Crawford (Beach)

CAREER: Hospital secretary/full-time alternative medicine/holistic nutrition student

VITAL STATISTICS: Single

LIVES IN: Salt Lake City

Ms. Crawford said that her fondest memories of Davidson involve the freedom to conform, or not, to societal norms.

"I've always been sort of a 'good girl,"' she said. "And going there, that was OK. I did have those influences that I would have had at another high school. I was accepted for who I was. I don't think I understood, at the time, what a privilege that was."

Part of a military family, Ms. Crawford had a childhood punctuated by regular moves. In fact, she left Augusta with her family shortly after graduation. She said that transient lifestyle often led to lost connections and compartmentalized memories.

"We moved every two or three years, so my roots are really all journal entries," she said. "It's funny really, because I never thought I would have an opportunity for any sort of a reunion, which makes this very exciting. I love the idea of revisiting that time."

Reach Steven Uhles at (706) 823-3626 or steven.uhles@augustachronicle.com.