Monday, April 30, 2012

The Benefits of Failure

By Kelsey Robbins

          With finals right around the corner, the entire St. Thomas Aquinas College campus is losing their minds. Students are worrying about their grades, graduation, and who knows what else. The core of this frenzy is that we are programmed to believe that failure is a bad thing. But is failure truly a bad thing?
          Randy Pausch, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, spoke at the university’s “last lecture series.” For him, this was not a drill; it was one of his last lectures. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was given a couple months to live.  His lecture was about the importance of overcoming obstacles, enabling the dreams of others and seizing every opportunity. He spoke of achieving your childhood dreams. A big part of his point was “brick walls are there for a reason. They give us a chance to show how badly we want it.”
          Obstacles are put before us to challenge us to make us strong individuals.  Yet we are not always going to be able to beat the obstacles on the first try; there is what I like to call a learning curve.
          Sometimes we are just not meant to scale these “brick walls”. In Randy Pausch's case, his unscaleable brick wall was joining the NFL. Although it was a dream of his, he accepted that it was not possible nor was it what was best for him. He realized this but still believed some of the best lessons he learned were from his football coach. It was through this sport that Pausch learned responsibility and that hard work will get you further then just pure talent. While some may look at this as a failure, I disagree; it was a learning experience where the lessons he learned far out weighted his original goal.
           “Brick walls” come in many different forms, but the trick is to have a plan and more importantly be able to change this plan. More than likely, you’re not going to make it over the wall the first time or the second time, either .While some may view that as failed attempts, they should be viewed as learning experiences. Honestly, how would we learn how to do anything right if we had not have done it wrong a couple of times first? As Pausch would say, “the person who failed often knows how to avoid future failure. The person who knows nothing but success  can be more oblivious to the pitfalls.” Failure is part of the journey, without it  success would not be as sweet.
          Failure can also be a great teacher and motivator. Think of all the movies, books and speeches that have been about those who have had nothing, were considered failures, but made themselves into CEO’s, professional athletes and so much more.  They got there because they had motivation, they had nothing else going for them, but why not try?  Failure weeds out those who do not have the commitment, passion or drive to achieve. Those who do not know failure, do not know how to pick themselves up and adopt, they have never had to try at the brick wall more than once.   Let’s face it, no one is failure free; but we can chose to learn from it or try to cover it. Personally, I would rather take the lesson and move on.
          To me failure is not  a taboo word; it shows that you tried your goal, which may have been out of your reach, but at least the attempt to become a better individual was there.  Failing may mean that you could not do something; but eventually if you “work hard enough, there will be things that (you) can do tomorrow that (you) couldn’t do today.”  That’s life striving to better yourself  and others. Along the way, you may meet a task you just couldn’t  handle but that’s alright-- just get back up and give that brick wall another try. Better yet,  think about what that failure taught you.
          Too much emphasis is put on winning and succeeding, but nothing is mentioned about failing. Show me a person who has never failed and I’ll show you a person who has never challenged themselves. Isn’t that what life is all about? Life is  not a destination; it is a journey in which you should challenge yourself and others. Do not be afraid to fall, because I promise you will be stronger when you get up.

Kelsey Robbins is a junior at St. Thomas Aquinas College majoring in Psychology, with a minor in Communication Arts.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Starting a Sisterhood

By Dominique Scarinci

          It was spring of 2011 when Gaby Delgado was holding a conversation with a couple friends about how there is nothing to do on campus, when they decided they would try and change this. Currently on St. Thomas Aquinas College's campus, there are three Greek organizations--Alpha Phi Omega, Omega Phi Beta, and Phi Lota Alpha. The journey to bring another Greek organization is one that the girls were willing to embark on.
          Lambda Pi Chi is a Latina sorority that benefits Latina women. Latinas Promoviendo Comunidad was established April 16th , 1988 at Cornell University. LPC currently has twenty-six chapters at twenty-five different schools in the United States. With enough determination, this group of five girls aimed to make its twenty-seventh chapter.
          Lambda Pi Chi sorority’s vision is to create a lifetime network of Hermanas who are dedicated to empowering themselves and providing for the community as well. As a newcomer to understanding Lambda Phi Chi and their goals, it is clear that this sorority is goal-oriented while providing help for “la comunidad,” as they would say, the community. This sorority has many different goals for their young women leaders. High goals such as to unify women through the promotion of the Latina Community, promote community service, strive for achievements with people of all races, enlighten communities on Latino culture, and to promote professional advancement in undergraduate and graduate chapters. 
          Latinas Promoviendo Comunidad concentrates on women and the importance of giving women a voice. Their concentration is Latina women in which they partake in Latino communities but do not reject applicants based on ethnicity. Although LPC is a Latino sorority, there are many Hermanas who are not of Latino descent. The Hermanas learn to dedicate a lifetime of passion to the sorority. Many of them will always wear red, gold, black, and white to represent LPC. A unique tradition that LPC has is after a woman pledges, she receives a gold necklace with the sororities Greek letters and the year they crossed. LPC creates a community of Hermanas who stay connected through many years.
          Lambda Pi Chi has two main projects that they focus on in the community. One is L.E.A.A.P. (Latinas Educating on AIDs Awareness and Prevention). The other is H.A.C.E.R. (Hermanas for Advancement of Career and Educational Resources).
          The L.E.A.A.P. project has been established since 2000, where Hermanas have coordinated to help educate society on AIDS and AIDS prevention. They set up tables, booths, and panels to educate the Latino communities as well as other on AIDS. The H.A.C.E.R. project focuses on assisting minority or low income women to further their education and career goals. They provide resources that these women would have no way of using in order to succeed.
          On December 28, 2001 the New York City Council acknowledged LPC Inc. for its continued service and dedication to Latinos and the community of New York City as a whole. It is projects like these that interest the girls to bring LPC to STAC’s campus.
          The first step in expansion was for Gaby to email the vice president of expansion at LPC, in which she received good news. Gaby is lucky to have her aunt who is a Hermana and introduced the girls to Melanie Castro, who is willing to help get the girls through the process. Both Melanie and Jennifer, V.P. of expansion, did a conference call with Anne Moore, Director of Student Activities at STAC. When Melanie was done with her call, she relayed a message to Gaby that was not good.
          The girls were waiting together for Melanie’s call and put her on speaker so everyone could hear. Melanie said that Anne told them that STAC was currently not accepting additional Greek life. This put a frown on the girls' faces as their hopes of bringing expansion to campus dwindled. The girls refused to give up and Melanie stood by them in their determination.
          The girls set up a meeting with Anne Moore to talk about their reason for expanding LPC. They recruited other girls as well; the group went from five girls to seven. Each girl wrote one to one and half pages on why Lambda Pi Chi was right for them and the STAC community. The girls also passed out surveys on Greek life around campus in the cafĂ©, laundry room, and halls.
          The day came for the meeting with Anne. “It was intense, I’ve never been scared of being let down like that,” Gaby recalls. At the end of the meeting, Anne said that she had to meet with Dr. Manning, Dean of Academic Affairs. She stated that he would have the final say and even though we presented a good case to her, it was not set in stone that it could go our way.
          It is now fall of 2011; the girls leave for winter break and are still waiting for Anne’s results. Gaby sent out a mass text to everyone when she heard the good news that Lambda Pi Chi was approved by Dr. Manning. All the girls were relieved and could not wait to continue with the process.
          As the spring semester came, each girl kept spreading the word and getting more people interested in LPC. Just recently on April 25th, Melanie and the girls got together in the campus lounge to talk over some things. The group has grown from seven to twelve girls; this is before an interest meeting has been held. Lambda Pi Chi is set to start forward with the interested girls in the fall semester of 2012.

For more information:

Dominique Scarinci is a sophomore at St. Thomas Aquinas College from Yonkers, New York. She is a Communication Arts major with a Public Relations minor. She also is interested in Lambda Pi Chi Sorority for the fall semester of 2012.                   

Rebirth of a Revolution

By William Gilmartin

           It is amazing how much your childhood can be with you even as you go through college. One of the things I frequently reflect on are the amazing shows I saw as a kid. Some of these shows helped influence me to become who I am and even allowed me to pursue my interests. How could something so simple as cartoons have such a strong impact on a person. What has changed? Well, nothing much. There is only one big difference that separates the old and the new, and that is Toonami.
          Toonami was an action block on Cartoon Network dedicated to the best action cartoons around, usually being half western animation and half Japanese anime. Not only that, but Toonami had something no other cartoon block had; Toonami had TOM. TOM is a robot whose name stands for Toonami Operating Module, and he was originally a tiny robot that would introduce the shows and “broadcast” them to us from his spaceship. TOM was cool and influential; while other shows would try and talk about morals, TOM would let you know straight out what was going on and you would listen because TOM was not your teacher, he was your brother.
          TOM was originally voiced by Sony Straight, but when TOM was killed in a special event his body was upgraded from a tiny round robot to something more human like, keeping his signature biker helmet, and was voiced by famous voice actor Steve Blum. The tag line of Toonami was “The Revolution will be televised.” This “revolution” made children feel a part of something, made them feel loyal to TOM (a brilliant marketing tool) and brought them together as a community, actually listening to the important morals both TOM and the shows he aired portrayed. Kids were actually watching cartoons for something more than just mindless action.
          Toonami started in the late 1990s and would have a successful run. Unfortunately, in the late 2000s we, the fans, got this: “Well, this is the end, beautiful friends. After more than 11 years, this is Toonami's final broadcast. It's been a lot of fun, and we'd like to thank each and every one of you who made this journey with us. Toonami wouldn't have been anything without you. Hopefully we've left you with some good memories. So, until we meet again, stay gold. Bang.”
          These were TOM’s last words as Toonami was canceled. Fans were outraged. Toonami wasn’t just a vehicle to give us our shows it was what made the shows worth watching. TOM would have his own adventures and plot and would treat the audience as a part of both his adventures and his crew.
          Fans wrote to Cartoon Network and sent in petitions, but they wouldn’t listen. It looked like we would never see Toonami again, until one day a project called NeoToonami was made. NewToonami would stream shows over the internet as Toonami did on television. They would air shows that already aired on Toonami and new shows that never aired before. The reaction was immediately negative, but as the project progressed they got their own website and forum, until they posted a video showing their work and their lineup and the “Toonami faithful” were brought together again. The fans making this project are making no money and yet the level of quality on their videos, CG, music, editing, are original and professional level. NeoToonami has a full crew of artists, musicians, CG animators, voice actors, editors, and writers all around the country.
          Seeing this, I joined the forums and was amazed by how far this project has gone. This was no longer a simple fan attempt at recreating Toonami, this was the evolution. Toonami has been inherited by the fans. The message and words left behind by TOM would never be forgotten and NeoToonami would make sure that those same words of wisdom would reach the next generation. As of now, there is no launch date for the stream, but if you want to get in on the action, go to and start poking around. So get ready NeoToonami faithful, because the Revolution will be streamed.

For more information:

William Gilmartin is a sophomore at St. Thomas Aquinas College. He is majoring in Communication Arts and hopes to go into video editing upon his graduation and even to open up his own company once he builds up enough experience and knowledge.

Avengers Assemble

By Ashley Walter 

          Marvel Studios does it again! Releasing yet another superhero, action packed, soon to be blockbuster hit, The Avengers. The Invincible Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), The Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), The Mighty Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) team up with S.H.I.E.L.D (Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division) led by Nick Fury (Samuel Jackson). These unlikely heroes are joined together by S.H.I.E.L.D to stop the world-wide threat of Loki, Thor's brother, played by Tom Hiddleston. Loki was believed to have perished; but he is back and is threatening the innocent lives of human beings across the globe.  
            The film was written by Joss Whedon and produced by Kevin Feige, who joined Marvel Studios in 2000 and has been involved in producing all of Marvel's films since. He was named President of Production in 2007. Executive producer of Iron Man Jon Favreau, expressed many concerns with creating the story line of all these heroes being put together. "It's going to be hard, because I was so involved in creating the world of Iron Man and Iron Man is very much a tech-based hero, and then with Avengers you're going to be introducing some supernatural aspects because of Thor." He doesn't want to blow away the sense of reality that filmmakers worked so hard to create during Iron Man, The Hulk, and Capt. America.
          Thor is the Nordic God of Thunder from the distant land of Asgard, who possesses great power through his legendary hammer known as Mjolnir. Since the character of Thor and the land of Asgard are mythical, there was a fear that this film could be an issue blending superhero “reality” with other worldly fantasy. Kevin Feige argues that it won't be any problem whatsoever.  
            The film was shot in three different locations throughout the U.S. Including New Mexico, Ohio, and New York City. Since Marvel had a merger with Walt Disney, the movie will be created to be seen in 3D as well as 2D.
           Comic book fans everywhere are waiting to see how gracefully the writers are able to get these diverse superheroes to work together. Iron Man, known publically as Tony Stark, is a confident, arrogant, and technologically inclined wealthy bachelor. The Hulk is the monstrous form that Dr. Bruce Banner takes when provoked with anger. This is due to his exposure to gamma radiation. Captain America, who is the alter ego of Steve Rogers, was transformed from a small frail man into a super solider during World War II. He was a national hero in his day before he crashed into the Arctic, where he was frozen until present day. Lastly, there is Thor who is the Nordic God of Thunder who posses super human strength through his legendary hammer known as Mjolnir.
          Regarding the dynamic between Captain America and Iron Man, Chris Evans (Captain America) remarked, "I think there's certainly a dichotomy—this kind of friction between myself and Iron Man, they're polar opposites. One guy is flash and spotlight and smooth, and the other guy is selfless and in the shadows and kind of quiet and they have to get along. They explore that and its pretty fun.”
          Regarding the Hulk's place on the team, Mark Ruffalo said, "He's like the teammate none of them are sure they want on their team. He's loose cannon. It's like, 'Just throw a grenade in the middle of the group and let's hope it turns out well!"
          Chris Hemsworth notes of his character, Thor, "I think Thor's motivation is much more of a personal one, in the sense that it’s his brother that is stirring things up. Whereas everyone else, it’s some bad guy who they’ve gotta take down. It’s a different approach for Thor. He’s constantly having to battle the greater good and what he should do, versus- it’s his little brother there." Regarding Iron Man, Robert Downey Jr. comments, "In Iron Man, which was an origin story, he was his own epiphany and redemption of sorts. Iron Man 2 is all about not being an island, dealing with legacy issues and making space for others... In The Avengers, he's throwing it down with the others.”
          It will be interesting to see how the two "human" teammates, Black Widow and Hawkeye, collaborate with the group.  Will they stand their ground and be able to help or will they simply get in the way of the ticking time bomb which is the Hulk?  Only one way to find out!
          The Avengers will be assembling May 4th in theaters nationwide!

For more information,

Ashley Walter is a senior at St. Thomas Aquinas College. She will be graduating in May with a BS degree in Marketing. She wants to continue to pursue her modeling and acting career and see where that takes her. “If you’re gonna be a dreamer, you might as well Dream Big!”

Hollywood Reporter with Big Dreams but Battling the Whole Way

By Dana Godwin

          Giuliana Rancic, an American celebrity news personality from Naples, Italy has taken celebrity news reporting by storm.  Born August 17, 1974, she immigrated to Maryland, USA as a young girl of only seven with big bright dreams.  She alone has now created fame for herself with her vivacious personality.
          Giuliana learned how to speak English through watching countless hours of news channels as a young girl.  As the youngest child with an older brother and sister, she had to find ways to make herself noticed.  Often feeling self conscious because of her horrendous scoliosis, she made the best of the situation and focused on her personality and charm to get her where she wanted.  She married her husband, Bill Rancic, and the two are among the most adored couples in America.  Being a successful anchor is hard work but not many can do it.  She is one of the luckiest women and charming ladies that have been fortunate enough to grace the television sets of millions of Americans. 
          Taking her passion to be a news anchorwoman, she went to the University of Maryland to study journalism.  From there she went to American University to receive her master’s of journalism.  Stationed in D.C., she was a reporter on Capitol Hill which covered the Pentagon up to the White House.  Realizing she wanted a more charismatic and entertaining job as a reporter, she moved to California and joined the E! News Network, co-working with stars like Ryan Seacrest since 2006. Her work at E! gave her the luxury of reporting for major red carpet events for award shows such as the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes.  Using her education and experience, she created and executive produced an MTV show called "Celebrity Rap Superstar".  Other major credits of Rancic include hosting Miss USA in 2011 on NBC.
          Giuliana, unfortunately, has a less than bubbly personal life.  She met her now husband after he won the television show, "The Apprentice," after doing an interview with him.  The two were quickly engaged in December of 2006 after a flirtatious and obviously in love romance.  The two were married less than a year later in September of 2007 in Capri, Italy.  Their wedding was completely documented and aired on their television reality show, "Giuliana and Bill," which is still airing today. 
          Since 2009, the couple became public with their struggles to conceive a child.  They continued to be public about all of their issues in order to remain connected and loyal to their fans.  The Rancics tried using in vitro fertilization in March of 2010, which was successful for only nine weeks when Giuliana sadly miscarried.  Throughout the fertility challenges, the couple went through many options before finding out that Giuliana was diagnosed with breast cancer in October of 2011.  She immediately had surgery to remove the cancer and then underwent double mastectomy in December of 2011.  She recovered quickly and was back at work to keep herself busy and surrounded by positive energy.  Once she was cancer free, she and Bill researched their options before receiving long awaited good news.
          In April of 2012, the couple publicly announced that they would be expecting their first child through a gestational carrier that would be due late summer.  The surrogate mother is a close friend of the couple who was generous enough to donate her body for the couple.  News of the pregnancy overwhelmed the couple emotionally, showing the world just how long they have waited and truly want a child to raise together.  This child will be completely their own because they banked their last supply of sperm and egg to use that had not been affected by radiation from cancer treatment.  This was the last chance to have a baby that was entirely their own before exploring other options.  After all their obstacles, they were able to stay positive and consider all options to have children.
          Giuliana Rancic has taken the world by storm with her amazing way to gravitationally pull the audience into her story.  She reports on happy, sad, and trendy topics.  It will be exciting to continue to watch her grow as a news woman and give back to her fans and all viewers.  The couple as a team is unstoppable because of their absolutely engaging personalities.  While Guiliana reports on all that is happening in the world of entertainment, Bill is off on Project Smile expeditions to help those that are less fortunate.  Her work is inspiring for those interested in broadcast journalism and an inspiration for women with fertility obstacles.  Overall, Giuliana has found the American dream and really soaked in everything it has to offer.

For more information:

Dana Godwin is a senior at St. Thomas Aquinas College from Wappingers Falls, New York.  She is a Business Administration major who decided to add a minor in Communication Arts.  She was actively involved in student government and the theatre program.  After graduation in May of 2012, Dana will be entering the working world.

Confederate Motors Still Flying

By Brendan Dolan

          One of the fastest growing companies in recent years has one of the fastest products. Confederate Motors is a private motorcycle industry in Birmingham, Alabama. It makes motorcycles named after fighter planes. Founded in 1991 by H. Matthew Chambers, a former trial lawyer, Confederate Motors has brought a unique style to the motorcycle industry, as an initiative seeking “enlightened design through true American inspiration,” as Chambers puts it.
          The Company began in 1991 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The following year, they moved to San Francisco. Then in 1993 they moved back to Louisiana, but this time in New Orleans. The Hellcat models were the first to be in production, with over five hundred of them issued between 1996 and 2001. In 2001, Confederate filed for bankruptcy. They bounced back in 2003 with a new generation of Hellcats, continuing business in New Orleans. In 2005, the company’s factory was damaged due to Hurricane Katrina.
          Plans were then organized for a new factory in Birmingham, Alabama, where they are today. The move to Birmingham was because the city has a strong automotive industry. Another reason is because of the Barber Motorsports Park, a race course which is now the company’s testing ground for new bikes.

X132 Hellcat
          Hellcats were named after World War II fighter planes. Chambers said “this is the most expensive material selection and craft methodology, it is simply the best approach maximizing strength and guaranteeing permanence.” The lead designer of the bikes, Edward Jacobs, had always dreamed of creating the core of the machine. He said “we’ve been able to do that with the unitized case of this new Hellcat.” All of the cycles, including the Hellcat, Wraith and the Fighter, are specifically designed to be multi-generational heirloom products, with new carbon fiber wheels and the highest quality stainless steel qualities.
          Lately, the company has taken a huge leap forward. A decline in manufacturing and low funding in recent years has paid off successfully, now that they have received an influx of insurance money from New Orleans, because of the hurricane, and made an alliance with S&S Cycles from Wisconsin.
          One former Board Member of Confederate decided to leave the industry after the move to Alabama because he felt it was not right to leave New Orleans, but the company felt it would be better to leave because of the crime rates and the economic down turn. Matt Chambers felt that Birmingham was a better fit and offered a better real estate plan. The company now rents an 8500-square-foot facility.
           The economic recession affected Confederate. Due to the high costs of the bikes, and the very limited number of them, sales went down and shares dropped. However, the city of New Orleans has now been trying to lure Confederate back, offering them an estimate of $750,000, as a loan just to return. It is unclear whether or not the company will move again back to Louisiana, but plans have been set for a new warehouse, business office and assembly facility in the New Orleans area. Business can be done cross country between Confederate and S&S by power train transportation in order to make the new Hellcat models.
           Given S&S Cycles’ ability to increase production efficiencies, the X132 Hellcat is the best model the company has to offer and is more affordable by the company’s standards. The pricing for the Hellcat is reportedly equivalent to the top ten percent of the Harley-Davidson models.

For more information

 Brendan Dolan is a freshman at St. Thomas Aquinas College from Queens, New York. He is a Communication Arts major with a concentration in Journalism. After graduation from STAC, Brendan hopes to work for Sports Illustrated as a Sports Writer or in the Entertainment Industry.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

How to Reduce Stress as a College Student

By Michele Beach 

          If you’re a college student, this is most likely the most stressful time of year for you – finals week.  The pressure is on to do well on all of your tests, hand in all of the assignments that are due, write what feels like a 1,000-page essay and, of course, try to have a social life somewhere in there.  Between spending countless hours in the library and scrambling to get everything done, it seems that no matter how well you are doing or how early you start to study, there is never enough time in the day. 
          Think about what college students go through.  Many leave home, and have the pressure to obtain high grades in connection with career aspirations, the stress of taking final exams, while trying to establish a romantic and social life, as well as dealing with the very high costs of college and possibly working at a job during the school year.  What’s not to stress about!?  Perhaps this is why national findings show that based on student’s reflections, there are record levels of poor emotional health among undergraduate students, according to an article in The New York Times published in January 2011. 
          Stress is a feeling as a reaction to a challenge.  Guess what?  College is a challenge, life is a challenge.  We are faced with challenges every day, so therefore we are faced with stress every day. So, now that we know stress is a part of life, it is important to understand where stress comes from.  Step back and identify the stressors in your life and how your attitude, reactions, thoughts and actions might affect these stressors you encounter.
          Once you know what stressors are a major factor in your life, you can apply the Four A’s to deal with stress: Avoid the stressor, Alter the stressor, Adapt the stressor, Accept the stressor.  
          There are many factors that compile a person’s overall emotional health and stress levels.  Since stress is a part of life, the healthier you are the more able you are to manage stressors in your life.  Constant stress can weaken the body’s immune system, which can cause another stressor in your life, so it is important to maintain a stable wellness lifestyle in order manage the approach to stress.
          There are numerous ways to help balance and reduce stress, but there are certain components of stress management that work most efficiently for college students, according to the University of Georgia and 
           Attitude.  Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.  How you think and react to situations can make all the difference.  Each time you think a negative though about yourself, your body reacts similar to a tension-filled situation.  Next time you are in a stressful situation, take a step back and try to change the way you think in order to reduce your emotional reaction of what is going on.  Adjusting your attitude can have a profound effect of your emotional and physical well being. 
          Being Healthy.  A healthy mind needs a healthy body.  Although this might seem impossible as a college student, there are ways to keep up your physical activity with a conscious mind of good nutrition habits.  Daily multi-vitamins are a great way to keep up your energy and immune system.  Since stress can weaken the immune system and can cause the body to be susceptible to catching a cold or virus, it is in your best interest to keep your body healthy even when your under stress.   Simple physical activity can release endorphins into your body, which we all know are the “feel good hormone” produced in the brain.  Just an easy 20-minute walk a day can increase your energy, improve sleep, self confidence and, as a little side note – walking also increases your longevity. 
          Relax.  What’s the word mean again?  To be calm, serene, worry and stress free.  Get familiar with relaxation, because there are several techniques anyone can apply to their life to significantly reduce stress.   By nurturing yourself and rewarding yourself with some relaxing time or even something fun (imagine that!), you can actually reduce stressors in your life.  Relaxation techniques are usually a personal preference, depending on your personality, but some good activities include: having a cup of tea, listening to music, spending time outdoors, getting a massage or indulging in a delicious treat.  Another great way to relax is to build connections; having a long talk with someone special, going out with a friend or playing with a pet are great ways for your mind and body to let loose and emotionally reward yourself. 
For more information:

Michele Beach is a junior at St. Thomas Aquinas College, where her major is Biology and she is studying Communication Arts.  She would love to combine her two interests as a future career.  Michele has been Class of 2013 officer for three years; she is currently the President.  She is also the Public Relations Officer of the Science Club.  Michele is a member of the Laetare Players, where she has been in three of the school musical performances.  Michele has enjoyed her time in the STAC community and can’t wait for the experiences that await her as a senior. 

Annual NYC AIDS Walk May 20


Krishna Stone | (212) 367-1016

AIDS WALK 2012 is May 20 in Central Park

          For the past twenty-six years the GMHC organization has lead the AIDS walk throughout New York City. The annual walk will take place on May 20th, 2012 in Central Park.
          Participants must enter at 59th St. and 5th Ave. for the 6.2 mile around the park. To participate in the walk, you must raise money to benefit AIDS programs and people living with the condition. You must register online and state your sponsors that are willing to donate to the foundation. You can be an independent walker or a group of friends can register and raise money together. As of right now, online donations have accumulated to $1,815,541. Before the walk the projected amount is estimated to be over $2 million.
          GMHC is a non-profit organization, supported by volunteers, and a community based organization committed to the national fight against AIDS. This organization sponsors over 15,000 men and women, helping them in their fight against AIDS.
          Alongside GMHC, there are forty-six other benefiting organizations that participate in sponsoring the walk. There are also major corporation sponsorships that partake in the walk. The main corporation is Duane Reade; which has been participating for the past twenty- six years with GMHC. Duane Reade has contributed $325,000 towards the walk this year. GMHC has dedicated the last thirty years towards the fight against AIDS. The organization has stated that for the next three decades they intend to do the same and be an activist for AIDS and help those that are affected.
-- Dominique Scarinci

Sharing Secrets in Public

By Cassie Michelotti

          “Hi, my name is Frank and I collect secrets.”
          Collect secrets? Secrets are the type of thing you do not share, and for it to be collected it would have to be shared. Strangers everywhere have been trusting a man, a complete stranger to them, with their deepest darkest secrets for almost eight years.
          Frank Warren is the founder of Post Secret, the most visited advertisement-free blog in the world. The blog collects and posts postcards where people have artfully disclosed very personal secrets for the whole world to see. The idea started when Frank handed out 3,000 self addressed post cards with one side explaining what to do with the postcards. The idea spread and soon Frank was receiving postcards from all over the world. Frank recently gave a speech at a TED conference explaining how the idea got started and sharing some of the secrets he has received.
            Some of the secrets Frank shares are funny, like a disgruntled barista admitting they give decaf to rude customers. Others are sad, strangers share their feelings of loneliness. One man even proposed via postcard knowing that his girlfriend and he visited the site together every Sunday.
            The last secret Frank shares reads, “When people I love leave voicemails on my phone I always save them in case they die tomorrow and I have no other way of hearing their voice ever again.” He said that this secret led to an influx of people sending in voicemails from people they had lost, that they had saved for years. He plays one from a young girl from her grandmother singing her a birthday song. Secrets have a way of connecting people like nothing else can, something that can be a once in a lifetime opportunity.

          This speech can be seen at or the TED website (

Lady Spartan Lacrosse Team Faces Mercy on Saturday


Torne Valley Sports Complex
99 Torne Valley Road, Hillburn, NY

Contact: Cassie Michelotti

Final STAC Women's Lacrosse Home Game Saturday

          The Saint Thomas Aquinas College women’s lacrosse team faces Mercy College in their next home game on Saturday April 28th. With the end of the season rapidly approaching, this will be the team's last home conference game.
          The women’s lacrosse team has a 7-5 overall record this season, and stands 2-3 in the East Coast Conference. The team has done well this season, with freshman Genevieve Stickney being named ECC rookie of the week twice, Senior Anne Buttafuoco reaching her 100th career goal, and sophomore Margaret Sharp being named ECC player of the week and STAC’s athlete of the month.        
          The game will be held at the Spartans' home field at the Torne Valley Sports Complex in Hillburn, NY at 11:30 am on Saturday the 28th.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Caps and Gowns: 55th STAC Commencement May 11


St. Thomas Aquinas College
125 Rte 340, Sparkill, NY 10976

Contact: Ashley Walter

STAC Commencement May 11

          The 55th Commencement at St. Thomas Aquinas College will take place on May 11, 2012 at 2 pm on the Campus front lawn. It will include May 2012 graduates as well as January 2012 and August 2012 graduates, who are welcome and entitled to participate in all senior activities and commencement. If rain shall occur on the day of graduation, the ceremony will be moved indoors in Aquinas Hall gymnasium. Seating there is very limited and only those with indoor admission tickets will be admitted.
          All graduates received  commencement packets on April 10. This packet contains the two indoor ceremony admissions tickets if the ceremony is moved indoors. Please let your other guests know that the college will be broadcasting the ceremony on large screens around the campus for those who cannot be in the gym.
          Following the commencement ceremony that is expected to end at 5 pm, everyone is invited to a reception in the Romano Student Alumni Center.
          All graduates must report to the main gym entrance behind Aquinas Hall by 12:45 pm on May 11.  On commencement day, you will receive a diploma cover. Graduates may pick up their actual diplomas in the Records Office beginning Tuesday, June 12 (Monday-Thursday, 9 am-4 pm). In order for graduates to pick up their diplomas, they must meet all financial obligations to the college including Business Office, Residence Life, and Library fees, etc.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Stress-Busting Massages for Finals-Anxious Students


Contact: Joseph McCabe

Free Massages! Stress Busters at STAC

          Why not get a free massage? Every year, people constantly undergo all aspects of stress in daily life and don’t do anything about it. An estimated 80% of all people in society get back problems at some point in their lives as a result of stress. Massages can help. The purpose of a massage is to relieve stress, improve circulation, release trapped nerves, and balance muscle groups.
          If you are a student of St. Thomas Aquinas College, than take advantage of this. Finals are coming up in a week, which can be one of the most stressful times for any student. On Tuesday, April 24th,  there will be free massages given to students undergoing stress. From 11 am-3 pm, students can gain a quick-ten massage to relieve the stress of worrying about exams. 
          The free massages will be held at the Romano Center Stage for only a few hours, so get there early to sign up for a time slot. The Massage-Therapists are highly trained and there is nothing to worry about. Just go relax and take a quick load-off. The long-term effects will be quite surprising.

Monday, April 23, 2012

STAC Seniors Anxiously Counting Days


Anne Moore
Director of Student Activities
St. Thomas Aquinas College

Seniors Anxiously Await Graduation Day

          Sparkill, New York—As May 11 approaches, increased anxiety has spread like wildfire among graduating seniors at St. Thomas Aquinas College. 
          The College has been holding the graduation ceremony outside for years, but has used the gym for inclement weather days. This limits the number of guests that may attend. Students come and go, but each class brings a special thing to the college. As these students count down the days, the job search is another anxiety these students must face. 
          “Sign up today!” says the many emails provided by Anne Moore, director of Student Activities at STAC.  She is reinforcing the end of the year events that are planned for the Senior Class.
          In recent months, the Senior Week event registration has been warming up the Graduation fear.  Activities include: Mohegan Sun, Yankee Game, Bowling, and a Senior Formal to end it all.  These events make transitioning a little easier that were planned by the Senior Class Board.
          The Senior Class has worked hard all year to prepare these events for the Class of 2012.  Eager seniors are anticipating an awesome time this week to celebrate their achievements.  Registration and money for these events are due April 26th by cash, check, or credit card with receipt from the Business Office.  Students are limited to one guest per event that has identification.
          Anne Moore is in charge of the Senior Class Board; in addition, those students on the board can be contacted for information.

-- Dana Godwin

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Carnival Against Cancer Benefit for Ladybug Fund


Student Government
125 Route 340, Sparkill NY 10976

Contact: Kristina Simon

Carnival Against Cancer to Benefit Ladybug Fund

          St. Thomas Aquinas College will join  with Rockland Community College, Nyack College, and  Dominican College to host and participate in the Carnival Against Cancer, in support of St. Joseph’s Hospital’s Project Ladybug Fund. The carnival will be held on Friday, April 20th at 4 pm to 10 pm on the front lawn of STAC.
           The Project Ladybug Fund is like the multi-million dollar Make-A-Wish Foundation, only it is a local charity that is dedicated to raising money to help young patients with cancer or rare blood diseases. Project Ladybug  offers “wish trips,” toys during the holidays and art supplies in order  to allow the children to create positive memories as an incentive to get better. Any donations would be greatly appreciated.
          This year's carnival is in memory of STAC student Kristina Simon’s mother, Cindy- Lee Simon, who died in July 2010 due to lung cancer.

-- Kelsey Robbins

STAC Presents Pajama Game


St. Thomas Aquinas College
125 Route 340
Sparkill, NY 10976
CONTACT: Dr. Evan Matthew
Office phone: 845-398-4074


          On Friday, April 13th the Laetare Players from St. Thomas Aquinas College will be putting on a production of the Broadway adapted musical, The Pajama Game. The story deals with labor troubles in a pajama factory and a love story that blossoms between two workers in the midst of it all.
          The event, to be held in the Sullivan Theatre (Maguire 111) at 8:30 pm Friday, is the first show of this play which is the Laetare Players’ second production this year. They put on two major productions each academic year. The fall play is usually a comedy or drama, while the spring is often a musical from the Broadway repertoire.
          Refreshments will be available for purchase, and tickets will need to be shown at the door. For any person unable to attend the Friday night show there will be another Saturday night and again Sunday afternoon.

--Michele Piscitelli

Carnival Against Cancer Honors Student's Mom


STAC Activities
Romano Student Alumni Center
125 Rte 340, Sparkill, NY 10976

Committee Chair: Kristina Simon

Carnival Against Cancer
Honors STAC Student's Mother

          Saint Thomas Aquinas College will join with other Rockland County colleges in the first annual Carnival Against Cancer. The event supporting St. Joseph's Hospital's Project Ladybug Fund will be held on Friday, April 20th at 4 pm until 10 pm.
          Project Ladybug Fund is a local charity, dedicated to raising money to help children with cancer or rare blood diseases. All donations will be for the children to go on “wish trips,” have toys and crafts to help cope with their illness.
          This year's carnival is in honor of Kristina Simon’s mother, Cindy- Lee Simon, who passed away due to lung cancer on July 1st, 2010, two months before Kristina's attendance at STAC. Join students of St. Thomas Aquinas and neighboring campuses and help make a difference!

-- Delilah Scrudato

Carnival Against Cancer to Help Ill Children


Contact: Mary Hackett

STAC Students Raise Money  For The Sick 
With Carnival Against Cancer

          Project Ladybug is a children’s charity fund going towards those with rare blood diseases or cancer patients at St. Joseph’s Hospital. On Friday, April 20th St. Thomas Aquinas College as well as other Rockland County colleges will be hosting their first annual Carnival for Cancer.   
          All proceeds for this fund will be directly going to St. Joseph’s Hospital to help young cancer patients. Project Ladybug sends the funds to help sick children to promote them to get better with things such as “wish trips” or to purchase art supplies and toys during the holidays to keep them happy.
          A student, Kristina Simon, attending St. Thomas Aquinas College was asked to be the committee chair person at the event because she had raised a grand total of $780 through the Relay For Life  in memory of her mother, who died from lung cancer.
          No matter how big or how small of a donation people make, every bit counts. So come enjoy the carnival and feel great for being a part of donating to such a great cause.

Carnival Against Cancer Staged by 4 Colleges


Contact: Brendan Dolan

Carnival Against Cancer:
Four Colleges Stage Combined Event

           SPARKILL, NY-- The Student Government Association at St. Thomas Aquinas College will be holding a Carnival Against Cancer on Friday, April 20 at 4 pm until 10 pm. This new event is cosponsored by the four neighboring Rockland County colleges (St. Thomas Aquinas, Rockland County Community, Nyack College and Dominican College). Admission is $10.
          The Carnival is being held in order to help children who are diagnosed with all stages of cancer. All proceeds are given to the Project Ladybug Fund at St. Joseph’s Hospital.
          The event also commemorates those who have died due to cancer. Members of the STAC Community will give speeches to honor those who have died and those who have survived cancer. Athletic events will be held as well for everyone to have fun, and free food and drinks will be offered to all who participate.
          All who are interested in attending can register online at Once arriving at the event, there will be a $10 entrance fee. In return, you will get five raffle tickets, free food and a whole lot of fun. The raffle offers dozens of items up for grabs, including a new Kindle Fire.

Carnival Against Cancer at STAC

Student Government Association
Romano Student Alumni Center
St. Thomas Aquinas College
125 Route 340, Sparkill, NY 10976


Contact: Anne Moore

Carnival Against Cancer 
Opens Friday at STAC

          April 20th is a special day for the STAC community -- the campus will be hosting the first Carnival Against Cancer event in collaboration with Rockland Colleges Care.  This event is being held from 4 pm to 10 pm on The Great Lawn at St. Thomas Aquinas College.  All of the proceeds that are raised or donated by participants will be given to Project Ladybug to support children with pediatric cancer.
          Carnival Against Cancer is a fun way for the college community to raise money for Project Ladybug.   This fundraiser was started in 2007 by Dina Manzo as a charity to help children with rare blood diseases and pediatric cancer.  Project Ladybug provides Make-a-Wish services for children and also helps defray medical costs for families.  Carnival Against Cancer will benefit the Project Ladybug Fund at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Paterson, New Jersey. 
          The group Rockland Colleges Care includes STAC, Dominican College, Nyack College and Rockland Community College.  The students on these campuses have been planning this event since November in order to make the first carnival an event to remember.  It is an honor for STAC to be participating as the host for Carnival Against Cancer for the first time.  Several committees on campus have been volunteering their time in order to hold meetings and organize this event.  There are five committees on campus including: Advocacy, Advertisement, Activities, Facilities and Survivor Liason; each committee has a chair, co-chair and members.  All of the volunteers and student leaders who have put time and effort into coordinating the details of this event have made the STAC community proud. 
          Carnival Against Cancer is an open charitable event to the public and college community.  The cost is register is $10 which provides snacks, refreshments, entertainment, a free T-shirt and 5 raffle tickets.  Additional tickets can be purchased for other activities and donations are gratefully accepted!  Anyone that is interested to preregister can email the Director of Student Activities at or payment is welcome at the time of the event. 

-- Michele Beach

Pajama Game Comes to STAC


Contact: William Gilmartin

 Let the Games BEGIN! 
“The Pajama Game” Comes to STAC 

          St. Thomas Aquinas College and The Laetare Players present their latest performance, The Pajama Game, April 12-15. St. Thomas Aquinas has two performing arts organizations, the Laetare Players and the STAC Singers, both of which put on at least two performances a year, and this year we have The Pajama Game.
          The Pajama Game will be shown for one week only in the Sullivan Theater, from Thursday the 12th to Sunday the 15th. The show starts at 8 pm Thursday through Saturday and at 3 pm on Sunday. Tickets cost $10 for adults and $8 for students and seniors. For reservations email or call 845-398-4144.The play has been produced by Evan Matthews and directed by Kait Blumberg. Stage management is by Alison Montello and musical direction by Dan Boniello.
          The cast features T.J. Larke as Sid Sorokin, the new superintendent who falls in love with Babe Williams, played by Daniella Denaro. The cast also includes Danny Niederberger, Anthony Capuano, Daniel Maysonet, Tom Petrarca, Kait Blumberg, Rob Muller, Roberto Carcache, Liz Kaminski, Dana Kempinger, Priscilla Kavanagh as Hines, Prez, Joe/Charlie, Hasler, Gladys, First Helper, Second Helper/Pop, Mae, Poopsi, and Brenda respectively, with Lauren Meade, Michele Beach, Ashley Moretto, and Jeanine Raggo as the Ensemble. Each of these actors gives it their all in this performance and you can tell just how much fun they’re having. The Pajama Game is defiantly worth a look.

Ask, Believe, Receive

By Mary Hackett

          Vision boards, positive thoughts, and the positive energy we as people send out to the universe all come back in a positive way leading us to our success and what we want from life. That's the message that Sandy, a freshman at St. Thomas Aquinas College, recently presented to her speech communication  class.
          Sandy began her speech by introducing a famous actor and how he went from a broke man with dreams to a very popular man with millions. She went on to explain how the broke man one day wrote out a check for a million dollars and kept it in his draw to look at every morning when he woke up for motivation towards his goal of having a million dollars to be writing such a check out. “This actor is known as the famous Jim Carry,” she said.
           A lot of the class was amazed to hear that such a successful man started with nothing. Sandy then informed her classmates that the only way Jim Carrey got to such a high position in his career was through “The Secret.” The book tells people how to be more positive and that likes attract likes, so if you send out a positive energy to the universe that is what you will receive back.
          Furthermore, Sandy told the class, her dream profession in the future after college is to be a doctor, and she knows she is going to accomplish that goal because she is giving out the positive energy to the universe so  she will receive it back. "The Secret" taught her a method that she shared with the class. “The thing that helps me from day to day to not give up is my vision board, where I have pictures of being a doctor and the obstacles I need to face to get to that position,” she said. 
          Observing the class, it was obvious to me that a lot of people haven’t heard about this “secret” to life and were amazed by it. The three simple main tips Sandy told the class to act on were: “ASK” the universe what you want. “BELIEVE” you are going to get what you want. And just wait to “RECEIVE” what you want. This speech blew a lot of people out of the water and Sandy got a big round of applause and, hopefully, a great positive grade.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Living Life Fully

By Kelsey Robbins

          Live your life to the fullest, enjoy ever minute are tidbits of advice that are often offered to college students. Yet does anyone really understand what that means? Perhaps living life to the fullest means something different to every person; whether it is by reading or sky diving, living life to the fullest will not have the same meaning for every person.
          The next question is how one goes about enjoying ever minute of their lives, considering people tend to get lost in work and all the things that need to be done.  My Positive Psychology class has spent most of the semester talking about this very topic. This was not our initial topic but whenever happiness and multiple other topics were discussed in class, the euphemism of living life to the fullest was always uttered by someone.
          We have watched multiple videos about those who are close to death but still enjoy every moment of life they have left. One such video  was "Tuesdays with Morrie,"  in which a beloved college professor, Morrie, is dying on ALS or Lou Gehrig’s dieses. ALS  is similar to Alzheimer’s disease except it leaves the mind intact but the body slowly deteriorates. Even though Morrie know he was going to die he wanted to leave others with life lessons before he left because he has always been a teacher so why not impart some last tidbits of knowledge  Morrie believed that some of the keys to living life are often the first things we lose during the rush of day to day life. He advice is straight forward:
           Sharing is a pretty simplistic process, most of us or taught it during pre-k. Yet it is something that few people stop and do. Everyone is so concerned about their own selves they forget how rewarding it is to give something back. Instead of just rushing through, take the time to help someone else, share a lesson, some of your snack ,anything, and just be open.  We have all seen people who seem to have everything, a good job, plenty of money, a family but they are not happy, something is missing.
          Morrie preached that “the truth is, you don’t get satisfaction from all those things, you know what really gives you satisfaction? Offering others what you have to give.” In other words sharing your good fortune, offering whatever you have to give, however much or little that is. This forges a connection a caring relationship, you know that you helped someone. On the flip side it lets other people know you care and that alone has the potentially to alter someone’s mindset. Morrie spoke of sharing, as bettering the world, leaving it a more beautiful place then it had been before.
           Do what makes you happy--simple, right? No, it is not; the world has a way of placing burdens on us that can cause us to stray from what we want to do. For example doing what makes our parents “happy,” getting a job that pays well just to make the mortgage payments. I know countless people who are majoring in what their parents want.
          To Morrie this never made sense; why would you let someone else run your life? Everything has a price today but you have to weigh the odds; is the two story house really worth your happiness?  This one is more complicated,  a balance needs to be found between loving what you do and affording the basic necessities. Morrie taught that  the bottom line is you should “Devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.”  This could be anything spend more time with your kids, volunteer for an organization you support, you don’t have to go chasing the perfect job.  Slow down and find something that makes you feel good, like you have a purpose.
           Love is one of the strongest connections we know. Truly loving someone means loving them unconditionally.  Accepting that individual  through every failure and every triumph.  Without this emotion, “you really do not have much at all. Love is supremely important,.” lectured Morrie.
          Love is oftentimes mixed in with family. Our families are where we learn to love unconditionally. I mean we are stuck with these people, so having them be supportive can truly be a life saver. Without love there are no connections; as humans we need these connections to get through the everyday struggles we face. There is no such thing as a one man army, no one man can go it alone.  Take the time to spend with those you are close to, foster these relationships because they are ultimately priceless.
           I find it interesting how we can learn the most about “living” from those who are about to lose their lives.  Perhaps it is because they accept that they are not going to live forever, they must take the time now. Morrie believed that “aging is just not decay, you know. It’s growth. It’s more than the negative that you’re going to die, its also the positive that you understand you’re going to die, and that you live a better life because of it.”
          Life is all about learning, testing and challenging yourself. It is up to you what you do but in the end realize you only get one shot. Are you truly living or just moving through life?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Know Your Brand

By Delilah Scrudato

          “At the time, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do; when I got hired I had no idea what I would be doing, but I was like, hey it’s a job, right?” On March 8, students of Saint Thomas Aquinas College got a treat when former graduate Stephanie Schilling joined them to share some helpful information about the communication industry. Stephanie was invited by Dr. Durney to speak in his communications seminar class, where she enlightened prospective colleagues about the business.
          As Stephanie walked in, her smile lit up the room and her confidence was beaming like no other. Stephanie holds an important position at A&E and she worked hard to get there. She started out as a commercial operations coordinator at Lifetime Network, where she would enter commercial codes into a system to allow commercials to run in specific time periods.
          As Stephanie’s first job in the communications industry, she said “I didn’t feel that I was using enough creativity entering data into a computer,” which is why Stephanie used her “brand” and worked her way up to Ad Sales Partnerships Manager on A&E Network (Lifetime and A+E Networks which includes A&E merged several years ago).
          She now often concepts ideas for integrated commercial vignettes, rather than copying codes for them. She creates these so-called vignettes, which are short co-branded blended “commercials” that integrate advertiser’s brands or messaging with content from A&E series. Brainstorming ideas for vignettes is one of the many tasks Stephanie does as a partnership manager for A&E. Stephanie also works with the Ad Sales department, which sells advertising space to advertisers in the cable “upfront” season, where companies spend large budgets to secure advertising space for the year.
          Starting out, Stephanie didn’t know she would later be a successful partnership manager. But what Stephanie did know was her brand. “Know your brand,” she kept saying throughout the class; knowing your brand is like knowing who you are and what you have to offer.
          Stephanie has this way about her, where she can make anyone sound professional in an interview. Stephanie gave an example: “if you took orders at your local pizza joint and you were going for an entry level job in which you’d need to have experience in customer service – play up that experience you had on the phone at the pizza place. You dealt with customers on a daily basis; try to remember any problems that you helped to solve with botched orders or customer complaints and use those stories to your advantage when you’re interviewing.”
          Another tip she shared with the class is to “always ask questions. This way you’re always challenging yourself to learn something new.” The more knowledge one holds, the more knowledge one has to pass off to others.
          “I always hang out with the IT guys because you can always learn something from them,”  Stephanie said. She told the class how she used one of her advantages to help the Senior Vice President of Ad sales with a major presentation. Thanks to Stephanie’s time spent using Power Point for her job in Partnerships, she was able to help him with slide transitions, animations and other aesthetics with his presentation – something that was simple for her but may have taken him a lot of time and frustration.
          Stephanie looked at the class with a broad smile and said, “This isn’t something that’s part of my job description, but I was absolutely happy to help him with his presentation – it shows that you are willing to go above and beyond your position and increases your visibility within the department; you’re a person who says yes when others may not.”
          Stephanie has valuable information in her head and she knows how to use it, just like she knows her brand, but more importantly, she knows how to share it.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Power of First Impressions

By Michele Beach

          It takes just 18 seconds for a person to gain a first impression about another. Rachel Jackiewicz could not stress this fact enough to the group of student leaders. As the Director of Career Services at St. Thomas Aquinas College, Mrs. Jackiewicz centered her speech at her recent leadership workshop on the importance of first impressions. She left 22 students with a new perspective on their futures with a motivating speech.
          “First impressions aren’t just about how you act--everything from how you dress, what time you arrive and even what fragrance you wear that day can have an impact on your first impression,” she said.
          Rachel had the audience at the leadership workshop participate in a short activity in order for everyone to prove that in just a short amount of time someone can sense the personality of another. The students paired up at desks facing each other; each student had 30 seconds to interact and make the best first impression on their partner before moving on to the next person. There were no rules, guidelines or specific questions that the students had to ask or answer; they were just told that their goal was to make the best first impression.
          The interactions that took place varied, some students shook hands, while others asked questions and introduced themselves; some even just talked and giggled, trying to get over the first few nervous sentences. Following the activity, the group came together and voted on the one student who made the best impression. There were a variety of characteristics that the group agreed made one student stand out.
          “It’s all about your nonverbal actions, what people see and what behaviors you show speak louder than any words you can say during an interview. About 60% of communication is nonverbal messages, that’s over half!” Rachel’s words put into perspective for the students that actions speak louder than words. Some special qualities that really made a difference included: eye contact, shaking hands, smiling, how motivated the person was, their posture, tone and volume of their voice. A lot of these qualities are what employers look for on an interview.
          “There are so many little things that go into a person’s outlook on you, I can’t stress it enough!” she said. Rachel shared with the group some horrible stories of first impressions, like: someone wearing overpowering fragrances, people not being prepared or showing up underdressed for an interview (you should always dress professional and conservative). These are all helpful hints that student leaders on campus were able to gain first hand from a professional who knows so much and is willing to share this information in order to better prepare them for their futures.

Tapping the Grassroots

By William Gilmartin

          When you read a news story, all of your information comes from the reporter, but where do they get their information from? Well, it is no secret that they get their information from sources and officials, but what many people don’t understand and appreciate is the how. How do reporters find these sources, by taking out a want ad in their own paper? No, they get out there and look for that story and look for people who would know something about that story. Basically it involves a lot of looking and a lot of talking, not a career for the shy.
          More often than not, the most valuable sources are those who are the most passionate about the topic, says Jan Barry, a retired newspaper reporter who shared reporting tips with his journalism class at St. Thomas Aquinas College recently. Such as when a local environmentalist in New Jersey revealed that the key chemical used in Agent Orange was being used to kill weeds near a water supply stream. This information helped uncover hidden information about vets who were harmed by Agent Orange and the dangers of the chemical.
          It is surprising how much information you can learn from the average town’s folk, especially at a town meeting, Barry said. Many of these people are valuable sources and are frequently used in stories large and small. “Citizens with a hot tip or a cool observation on public affairs are as crucial to American journalism as politicians whose careers flare or flameout in blazing headlines,” said Barry
          The newspaper is, and always has been, a valuable source for news and information. And it is thanks to those who supply our reporters with all they know that they can bring it to you, he added. Each source has their own story to tell; the reporter is the one who goes out and finds it.

Journalist Reveals Reporting Tips

By Dominique Scarinci

          Jan Barry gave a speech to his journalism class at St. Thomas Aquinas College the other day, which he first presented at Rutgers University after being named the North Jersey Media Group Journalist-in-Residence for Spring 2005. Barry, a published author of A Citizen’s Guide to Grassroots Campaigns and a well-known journalist for The Record in New Jersey, spoke about how to go about being a good reporter.
          Throughout his speech, Barry shares tips on being a good writer as well as some of his encounters throughout his career. Jan Barry started with a quote from his book, “A trade secret of the news media in America is that its major sources include the public- ordinary citizens who call, write, fax, e-mail, or personally deliver an interesting tip or complaint.” This quote explained to his audience how important it is to pay attention to the public when looking for stories.
          For stories that we choose to pursue, we must gather the right facts. Barry explained to the audience how important it is to use well informed sources. He stated how the best sources are people that have been or are involved in what is going on.
          It takes a real journalist to find the proper sources, he said. “Finding good unofficial sources takes patience, persistence, and sometimes luck or fortuitous timing,” he explained how it is important to take your time and put all your effort into finding the important sources. Barry talks about how a newspaper is an important part of people’s lives. A good journalist knows how to approach a story, its facts and sources to produce a worthy article to be published, he concluded.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Mary Ann Bartels Talks Economics with STAC Students

By Ashley Walter

          What's the future for America's economy and employment opportunities?
          On March 6th, St. Thomas Aquinas College students had the opportunity to listen to Mary Ann Bartels, who is the Managing Director, Head of Technical and Market Analysis for Bank America- Merill Lynch. She has had much success in her professional career, working for Wall Street for twenty years, and as a European qualitative strategist. A Fordham graduate, Bartels spoke to STAC students about the United States and the world’s current economic problems, as well as giving a few of her own predictions.        
          Predictions that include when the US mortgage and Real Estate market will improve, what will happen to our job market, what will happen to the US economy over the next year, and who Wall Street wants for president in this year’s elections.
          She explained how in 2008 the US financial system fell. A huge part of this was the mortgage sector of the economy. Subprime loans were given to “at risk people” who had a high probability of not being able to pay mortgage payments on time or at all and who also had lower credit ratings. Usually, mortgage companies will charge a higher interest rate on subprime mortgages than on a traditional mortgage because the company is carrying more risk with people who are considered more risky. What happened that caused the mortgage market to fall, she said, was these subprime mortgages were given a triple A rating even though those mortgages were not even close to that rating.
          Bartels feels that another main reason the US economy took a downfall was Leverage. Our economy was 50x levered. This meant that a trillion dollars turned into 50 trillion, which was too massive for the financial system to handle. The US was faced with the decision to let the system fail or to plug it. The US decided to plug the system with TARP. This is the Troubled Asset Relief Program which entailed the US government purchasing assets and equity from financial institutions to strengthen its business sector. This TARP money had an interest rate which would be paid back to the Government.
          Bartels also spoke about the European economic issues as well. She feels that they ran into a lot of problems making decisions quickly because of the European Union. They need all 17 countries to agree on each issue before a policy is put into play. Europe for many years pretended that they didn’t have economic problems, so they never did anything with their banks and their economy got worse and worse, she said.
           “The Federal Reserve that once served as the UN’s last resort for money can’t be used anymore as the last resort because it is stretched out in too many directions,” she said. What Europe did to try and help their economy is conduct the LTRO (Long Term Refinancing Operation). This is a three year lending facility that helps Europe’s major banks out financially because they started to go under.
          “It will take another 5-7 years to clear out the mortgage mess and job growth is going to level off,” was Bartel's predictions. She also feels that QE3 will be issued. This is Quantitative Easing for the third time here in the US. This is a monetary policy used by the central banks to stimulate the national economy.
          “A bull market happens every 20 years or so which I feel we are close approaching,” she added. A bull market is when there is an increase in investor confidence and the stock market and economy starts to see capital gains. Right now we have been experiencing a Bear market. This is when there is a general decline over time in the stock market and investor confidence is extremely low.
          “Most people are buying mutual funds which means most assets are in cash, and they are not growing their assets in the stock market,” she said. Bartels also predicts for 2012 that the first half of the year we will see around a 2% growth rate but in the second half of the year the rate will slow.
          Her last prediction was about this year's presidential election. “Wall Street and Corporate America are hoping for a Republican president in this upcoming election because Wall Street regulations won’t be so strict and more economic growth will happen quicker because of this,” she said.

There Is a Reason

By Dana Godwin

          One of the most influential and heart-wrenching speeches was from my high school music teacher.  Melissa would give such inspiring, personal, and emotional words to us on a daily basis that when she passed away after a four-year battle with cancer, it meant even more.  Being a devoted and active thespian almost my entire life, there have been few people who have inspired me and connected with me in a certain way.  One never really knows what they have until it’s gone and this speech truly portrays that.
          Before every production of a show, the director makes a speech thanking the cast and telling them that it was a worthwhile experience.  After her passing, a memorial show was put together for last May to remember all that she had done for the arts in my high school.  The many talented alumni involved were remarkable.  A talented videographer pieced together a montage of all her many speeches from over the years into one magnificent and memorable speech.  The power of this speech, the emotion from her could still connect to her ‘children’ and to audience members who’d never even met her.     
          I was fortunate enough to hear at least six core speeches from this woman and had the wonderful opportunity to replay the montage.  She spoke of energy more than anything and that energy is the most positive thing you can bring to an audience.  Aside from being a music teacher, she dabbled in directing many times.
           “There is so much energy in this building, I felt it when I walked through the door.  What we need to do is channel it towards putting it towards the show,” she said one day.  Nerves are always a problem when opening night arrives, but she knew how to spin it some way that would relax a cast or a class. 
          “All right, so we have a show to do and, um, this is an ensemble.  You’re an ensemble as the crews, and the pit, and the actors.  Remember that.  Aside from your specific job, you need to always say thank you.”  Reminding everyone that without each other, you have nothing to give and you need to be grateful for that. 
          When I was well into my junior year of high school, she was diagnosed and had to take time off to get better.  She still chose to do that musical because it gave her joy and something to look forward to and make her happy.  “One of the reasons this club works is because we have established that it’s a family and we depend on each other and trust each other,” she said.  Theatre itself, no matter where, always turns into some strange version of a family because of the amount of time and kind of time that is spent with one another.
          She reassured those who were apprehensive or reluctant to be on stage.  “Few people will ever have the experience of what you’re doing and few people will ever have so much joy and so much wonderful energy,” she said.  Once she was diagnosed, she really gave her energy to us about how she felt about life and what should be made of it.  “We live our whole lives and we are fully aware of our mortality and I think we all in some small way strive to overcome that and to become in some strange way immortal.”  I never realized the strength behind this until reliving the live moment through video less than a year ago. 
          “Time is the most valuable thing that you will ever have and you gotta realize that we can’t hand on to time, but we can hang on to memories.  Memories are the most precious thing to hold on to,” she said another day.  When watching this montage again, this is the most important quote that struck me and emotionally attacked me.  There was no bad day that she could not make better and there was no situation she couldn’t provide advice on.
          Although my heart may be broken from her no longer being here, I am grateful to have had her as a substantial influence in my life.  Her words, lessons, and rituals have stayed with me throughout college and will continue throughout my life and theatre life.  This montage of live speeches empowers me and lets me know that there are reasons for doing things.  There are reasons to do what you love and reasons you meet the people in your life.  There are reasons that lessons are learned and things stay with you.

Soup Kitchens Need You

By Michele Piscitelli

          Theresa Dooley, a sophomore at St. Thomas Aquinas College, spoke to a class at the college yesterday to persuade people to volunteer at their local soup kitchens. Theresa began her work with soup kitchens in Rockland County during her senior year in high school.
          “I started volunteering so I would have something good to put on my college applications, but then I didn’t want to stop,” she said. Dooley admitted that she knows the reasons people usually do not volunteer at soup kitchens is because they are nervous about the people they’ll be serving, they are scared of the work, and they do not want to work without getting paid.  To dispute these assumptions, she addressed each one.
          Dooley started by talking about the types of people that come to soup kitchens to eat. “Most people assume that soup kitchens are crawling with scary homeless men with dirty clothes and missing fingers, but I can assure you that you will not see anything like that.” She explained that most of the clients are families with small children who are struggling with their finances and want to give their kids a hot meal.
          Next she moved to the kind of work future volunteers can expect to perform. “There are several jobs available for volunteers. You can serve the food, set up and clean up the eating area, wash dishes, prepare the food, and many others. So if you do not want to be in direct contact with the customers you can find another job to suit your needs.”
          As she spoke against the false rumors about soup kitchens, the audience seemed to open up to the idea of volunteering there. In order to completely sell her audience, Dooley addressed the issue of compensation. “I know the main reason people do not volunteer is because they do not want to give their time and energy to something that they feel they don’t get anything out of. But that is false. I am not going to preach to you about the feeling you get from doing good, but tell you about real benefits you can receive from charity work,” she said. Dooley added that any type of volunteer work looks great on resumes and it is proven that employers will hire someone with volunteer experience over someone who doesn’t have it.
          By disputing the false fears about volunteer work and explaining the benefits you can get from it, Theresa was hoping to persuade others to start working with the local soup kitchens in Rockland County. She ended her speech by giving the audience a list of the local kitchens that are near St. Thomas Aquinas College and their phone numbers, so her audience will be able to start their volunteer work immediately.
          She closed her speech with a humorous statement, “Now you all have no excuse to not start working at soup kitchens.”

High School Commencement Speech

By Joseph McCabe

          Holy Cross High School, a Roman Catholic high school in Flushing, Queens, was one of the most prominent institutes I ever attended. During the beginning of my Junior year, my principal and professor of history, Mr. G, gave us a compelling speech on how important this year was to be for everyone in my class. Not just when it came to classes themselves but the SAT’s as well.
          None of us wanted to hear another speech about how responsibility can get us far in life, so a lot of us chose to ignore him until he admitted something to everyone that caught all of our attention.
          “You only get to live your life once,” he said. “You should never give up on yourselves. You all have something to live for. My son was an achiever, but in his Junior year he chose to take his own life and that was something I could not let go.”
          Hearing those words from a man we all looked up to was shocking. From then on until graduation, our entire student body was beginning to shrink. Many students left our great school over poor grades and selfish attitudes. Those who were let go from Holy Cross never heeded Mr. G’s words.
          By graduation, our whole student body for the class of 2010 was under two hundred students. Mr. G’s words had hit my friends and me pretty hard since it was the tragedy of the story that drew us together in gaining solid grades. If I had the chance to go back when Mr. G had first given that speech, I would have gotten up and thanked him.