Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Knife Man

By Emily Maffei

Not many people know the “Knife Man.” I was able to go behind the scenes at my father’s company and get the inside scoop of the niche business, sharpening knives. I guess you can say my father is in fact the “Knife Man.”

Rudolph Maffei 1903
This business has been passed down from generation to generation. It started in Italy. My great grandfather, Rudolph Maffei, was skilled in knife sharpening. He would use a wooden stand up stone wheel, spun by a leather band. He would step on the arm on the bottom to spin the wheel, once it was at a constant speed he would apply the edge of the knife to the stone and grind down the edge of the knife.

When he came to America, he brought this trade with him. He became a knife grinder in 1903 in Brooklyn, NY. In 1913, he traveled by horse and wagon sharpening knives all around the city. He and his brother Paul were known as the Fort Green Grinders, R.P MAFFEI & BROS.

Rudoph & Paul Maffei, Brooklyn, NY 1913

He passed this trade down to my grandfather, Rudolph Maffei, who started his company in Fort Greene, Brooklyn in the early 1950s, called “Fort Greene Grinding Service.” My grandfather traveled by truck all around the 5 boroughs sharpening knives for restaurants, homes, and most importantly the meat markets in the Bronx and down in the village.

Rudolph Maffei, Brooklyn, NY 1952

He made a good living being the “Knife Man,” but Brooklyn was a rough and tough city to raise a family, so in the early 1960s my grandfather relocated to Ridgefield, a suburb in New Jersey.

My grandfather bought a building and did all his sharpening in his shop and drove a truck to deliver the knives to the customers. He started up a knife sharpening business as a rental service. My father grew up in this shop, driving the trucks, and sharpening knives. Sure enough, in the 1970s my grandfather passed his company down to my father. My father, Michael Rudolph Maffei, started “Maffei Cutlery,” trained people to sharpen the knives, hired drivers to deliver the knives, and he built up the company.

In the early 1980s, my father started expanded his company from hand knives to machine knives and industry blades. About ten years later (1990s) he founded E-Z Edge Incorporated and relocated to a larger building in West New York, NJ. He took the company on the road and began to build up customers all over the country and networked. By the mid 1990s he had more than just a route in the tri-state area, he was international. Vendors from Europe and customers from New Jersey to California.

Michael Rudolph Maffei, West New York, NJ
The company is still growing till this day; everyone always needs a sharp knife. I grew up working side by side with my brothers during summers at E-Z Edge. Both my brothers, Michael and Sean, worked at E-Z Edge throughout their college career. And I currently work there part time while I finish up my undergraduate degree. I may be next in line, but my father will always be the “Knife Man” to me.

Emily Maffei is a senior at St. Thomas Aquinas College.

Move Over Hollywood: Film Crews Love Rockland

By Meagan Jaskot

If you've noticed bright yellow arrow signs around your neighborhood, it is highly likely that you are nearing the set of a major television production. Over the past year, Rockland County has attracted production teams from some of the biggest hits on networks including Fox, NBC, CW, and Netflix.

Rockland County is a prime filming location due to its close proximity to New York City. Many major networks are based in the city. Rockland’s suburban setting with various state parks has proved good for filming outdoor scenes.

Over the past several decades, Rockland has been home to award winning movies and series. Recently, the area has become an increasingly popular filming location.

Netflix, a web based television source, has made history with its outrageously popular series “Orange is the New Black”, starring Taylor Schilling and Laura Prepon. The show is a Netflix original series which has allowed Netflix to compete alongside traditional cable stations. The shows premise is loosely based on Piper Kerman's New York Times best-selling memoir, also titled Orange is the New Black. It is a recollection of her 15 month stint in an all women's prison.

The large majority of filming takes place in an abandoned Children's Hospital in the hamlet of Blauvelt. The building, on Convent Road, has been left unoccupied since 2010, when a new hospital was built just a few miles away. Set designers have redesigned the structure to look like a minimum security prison closely resembling the Federal Correctional Institute, in Danbury Connecticut, on which the show is based. The television rendition of the real life prison is called Litchfield Penitentiary; a fictional town supposedly set in upstate New York.  When passing through the filming site, you will recognize various props such as signs reading “Litchfield Staff & Visitor Entrance.” There are also barbed wire fences that now surround the building.

All of the outdoor scenes are filmed in Rockland, in addition to some interior scenes including the library and laundry room shots. Production trucks were been parked on the sight for most of 2013.
Although most of the show is set within the prison grounds, most all of the additional scenes are filmed in the surrounding towns of Pearl River and Nyack. The show has an additional set at Kaufman- Astoria Studios in Queens, New York.

The highly anticipated second season will air on Netflix on June 6th. Production for the second season began in August 2013 and wrapped up in early February.

Also partially filmed in Rockland Psychiatric Center is FOX’s new series, “The Following.” The series revolves around a serial killer’s cult, starring Golden Globe winner Kevin Bacon. A few exterior scenes in the second season have been recognized as within the mental health center. Just a few miles away is Tallman State Park where much of the shows second season was filmed in the woodsy area. Filming trucks were visible in the park from October to January. Other scenes have been shot in the surrounding areas of Nyack, at Nyack Hospital, and in Clarkstown. Production vehicles and cast cars filled the Provident Bank parking lot. The show was just recently renewed for a third season. Season two wrapped up on April 28 on FOX.

Also filmed partially in Tallman State park is “Vampire Diaries.” Wildly popular amongst teens and young adults, the drama has maintained a large fan base. The show filmed a portion of it latest season in the park this past winter, according to a member of the production crew. The CW show has already been renewed for a sixth season. The show has the same producer as “The Following,” which is a likely explanation for the similar filming locations.

Most recently, NBC’s newest series, “Believe,” filmed in several areas of Rockland County, confirmed by another crew member. The science fiction series premiered its pilot episode on March 10 and has continued airing every Sunday evening since then. The show revolves around a young girl born with supernatural powers. Production teams have again been spotted at Tallman Mountain State Park, as well as at Rockland Lake in late March and early April. The first season has already enjoyed good ratings.

There is no official word explaining the sudden interest in Rockland, but the county has undoubtedly become a popular filming site over the past year. With the extreme success of the mentioned shows, the return of film crews should be anticipated in the near future. If you are interested in a behind the scenes look at TV’s biggest hits, be sure to keep an eye out for big yellow signs that say "follow."

For further updates on filming sites:

Meagan Jaskot is a sophomore at St. Thomas Aquinas College. Meagan is 20 years old and a member of both the Spartan Cross-Country and Track and Field teams. She is a Communication- Arts major with a minor in Business. Meagan lives is Blauvelt, New York. In her spare time, she enjoys cycling, reading, and traveling.

Oscar Snub: Movies That Did Not Get Honored But Should Have

By Catherine Galda

This year at the Oscars, the motion picture industry took time out of its presenting schedule to have a special tribute to The Wizard of Oz.  This year marks the 75th anniversary of Judy Garland singing her way into our hearts.  The tribute included a nice montage mostly focused on Garland with some clips of with Ray Bolger (the Scarecrow), Jack Haley (the Tin-Man) and Bert Lahr (the Cowardly Lion) while P!nk sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” (which was very good).  However, one thing that struck me as I was watching the Oscars, Wizard of Oz was not the only movie turning 75 this year.

Another famous movie that came out in 1939 was a little picture called Gone With The Wind.  That the first full length color film was slighted at the Oscars makes me feel a bit uneasy.  The talent in Gone With The Wind is like that The Wizard of Oz, one cannot think of anyone who could play the roles better.  There are only two actors who can play the main leads of Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler and their names are Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable.  It was sad that they have almost been gone fifty years (similar to Garland-this year marks the 45th anniversary of her passing) and they are not honored in the way they should have been.

What made me sadder about this tribute is one of the main talents from Gone With The Wind is still alive today.  The great Olivia de Havilland turns ninety-eight this year and honoring her work in Gone With The Wind would be nice to see while she is still alive.  The Oscars brought back acting legends Sidney Poitier and Kim Novak who did not have any movies celebrating a special anniversary, but it would have been nice to see another acting icon there that night, which may be one of the last possible times we can show how much her work has meant to us. One argument could be made that they did not honor Gone With The Wind because of 12 Years A Slave, which is understandable, but how often can you celebrate Gone With The Wind turning 75 with one of the remaining cast members still alive?

Despite Gone With The Wind getting snubbed, many other movies were snubbed as well.  1939 was one of the best years Hollywood ever had and focusing on just The Wizard of Oz makes it seem that it was the only important movie that came out that year.  Some other great classics that came out in 1939 were Babe in Arms (starring Garland and the talented Mickey Rooney), Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (starring James Stewart and Jean Arthur), Ninotchka (starring Greta Garbo in her first comedy role-and she laughs!), The Women (starring Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, Rosalind Russell and Joan Fontaine), Dark Victory (starring Bette Davis, George Brent, Humphrey Bogart, Geraldine Fitzgerald and Ronald Regan), Young Mister Lincoln (starring Henry Fonda) and Wuthering Heights (starring Lawrence Olivier).  Many of these great movies did not even get recognition for turning 75 and that is very tragic.

Besides some of the big numbers turning 75, other movies had special birthday’s as well.  Mary Poppins turned fifty, Ghostbusters turned thirty, Gremlins turned thirty, The Lion King turned twenty and Forrest Gump turned twenty.  Instead of just paying attention to one movie, the academy should have made a montage of the big movies and showed them in the ages they were turning.  Starting with The Wizard of Oz and went on from there.

Yes, P!nk did a nice job singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and it was nice Garland’s three children (Liza Minnelli, Lorna Luft and Joey Luft) all were invited to watch this tribute to The Wizard of Oz and their mother, but how nice would it have been to have Olivia de Havilland, the last surviving cast member of Gone With The Wind? The academy could have invited the children of the main cast such as John Clark Gable, the only living child of Clark Gable and possibly Suzanne Farrington, the only child of Vivien Leigh and have them there to honor the good work of their parents.

By picking and choosing one movie to honor, the Academy left out many other important landmark movies that had a big anniversary this year.  Hopefully next time they will stick with a montage of big anniversary films instead of just signaling out one movie.

Catherine Galda is a junior at St. Thomas Aquinas College.  She is a history and Communication Arts major.  She wants to hopefully write about all the people she finds fascinating.    

Addressing the Mindless Menace of Violence

By Catherine Galda

Throughout history, there have been many famous speeches that many people can still recite or know phrases from to this day.  Many known the opening to the Gettysburg Address, President FDR’s address to Congress on the day Pearl Harbor was bombed, Dr. King’s I Have A Dream Speech and his last speech ever given, President Kennedy’s Inaugural Address, his Cuban Missile Crisis Speech, and his speech on Civil Rights.  However, there is one speech that I feel is very important to this day but sadly not many people know about this speech.  This speech was said on April 5, 1968 in Cleveland, Ohio by Senator Robert F. Kennedy. 

The 1960’s was a great time as well as a tumultuous time.  The country had many great moments as well as many dark moments that still leave a mark on us when we think of them today.  One such event happened on April 4, 1968 with the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr in Memphis, Tennessee.  When news spread of his assassination, rioters took to the street and burned over a hundred cities in anger.  One city that did not burn was Indianapolis, where Senator Robert F. Kennedy addressed the crowd, telling them of the assassination and how he sympathized because of the assassination of his brother five years earlier.  Although the speech RFK gave in Indianapolis has been considered a great speech, the one he gave the next day is the one that rings true to this day. 

The next day, RFK gave a speech in Cleveland titled “The Mindless Menace of Violence.”  The speech discusses the truth of that time and the truth of today; the mindless menace of violence in America. This is the speech:

[This is a time of shame] and a time of sorrow. It is not a day for politics. I have saved this one opportunity -- my only event of today -- to speak briefly to you about the mindless menace of violence in America which again stains our land and every one of our lives.

It's not the concern of any one race. The victims of the violence are black and white, rich and poor, young and old, famous and unknown. They are, most important of all, human beings whom other human beings loved and needed. No one -- no matter where he lives or what he does -- can be certain whom next will suffer from some senseless act of bloodshed And yet it goes on and on and on in this country of ours.

Why? What has violence ever accomplished? What has it ever created? No martyr's cause has ever been stilled by an assassin's bullet. No wrongs have ever been righted by riots and civil disorders. A sniper is only a coward, not a hero; and an uncontrolled or uncontrollable mob is only the voice of madness, not the voice of the people.

Whenever any American's life is taken by another American unnecessarily -- whether it is done in the name of the law or in defiance of the law, by one man or by a gang, in cold blood or in passion, in an attack of violence or in response to violence -- whenever we tear at the fabric of our lives which another man has painfully and clumsily woven for himself and his children -- whenever we do this, then whole nation is degraded. "Among free men," said Abraham Lincoln, "there can be no successful appeal from the ballot to the bullet; and those who take such appeal are sure to lose their case and pay the cost."

Yet we seemingly tolerate a rising level of violence that ignores our common humanity and our claims to civilization alike. We calmly accept newspaper reports of civilian slaughter in far off lands. We glorify killing on movie and television screens and we call it entertainment. We make it easier for men of all shades of sanity to acquire weapons and ammunition that they desire.

Too often we honor swagger and bluster and the wielders of force. Too often we excuse those who are willing to build their own lives on the shattered dreams of other human beings. Some Americans who preach nonviolence abroad fail to practice it here at home. Some who accuse others of rioting, and inciting riots, have by their own conduct invited them. Some look for scapegoats; others look for conspiracies. But this much is clear: violence breeds violence; repression breeds retaliation; and only a cleaning of our whole society can remove this sickness from our souls.

For there is another kind of violence, slower but just as deadly, destructive as the shot or the bomb in the night. This is the violence of institutions -- indifference, inaction, and decay. This is the violence that afflicts the poor, that poisons relations between men because their skin has different colors. This is a slow destruction of a child by hunger, and schools without books, and homes without heat in the winter. This is the breaking of a man's spirit by denying him the chance to stand as a father and as a man amongst other men.

And this too afflicts us all. For when you teach a man to hate and to fear his brother, when you teach that he is a lesser man because of his color or his beliefs or the policies that he pursues, when you teach that those who differ from you threaten your freedom or your job or your home or your family, then you also learn to confront others not as fellow citizens but as enemies -- to be met not with cooperation but with conquest, to be subjugated and to be mastered.

We learn, at the last, to look at our brothers as alien, alien men with whom we share a city, but not a community, men bound to us in common dwelling, but not in a common effort. We learn to share only a common fear -- only a common desire to retreat from each other -- only a common impulse to meet disagreement with force.

For all this there are no final answers for those of us who are American citizens. Yet we know what we must do, and that is to achieve true justice among all of our fellow citizens. The question is not what programs we should seek to enact. The question is whether we can find in our own midst and in our own hearts that leadership of humane purpose that will recognize the terrible truths of our existence.

We must admit the vanity of our false distinctions, the false distinctions among men, and learn to find our own advancement in search for the advancement of all. We must admit to ourselves that our own children's future cannot be built on the misfortune of another's. We must recognize that this short life can neither be ennobled or enriched by hatred or by revenge.

Our lives on this planet are too short, the work to be done is too great to let this spirit flourish any longer in this land of ours. Of course we cannot vanish it with a program, nor with a resolution.
But we can perhaps remember -- if only for a time -- that those who live with us are our brothers, that they share with us the same short movement of life, that they seek -- as do we -- nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and in happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment that they can.
Surely this bond of common fate, surely this bond of common goals can begin to teach us something. Surely we can learn, at least, to look around at those of us, of our fellow man, and surely we can begin to work a little harder to bind up the wounds among us and to become in our hearts brothers and countrymen once again.

This speech was written almost fifty years ago, but still holds true to the standards of today.  Sadly, RFK became the next prominent victim of the mindless menace of violence when he was gunned down on June 5, 1968 and died the next day from his injuries.  Although this speech is not as well-known as its predecessor (the speech given the night Dr. King was assassinated), it is the speech that holds the most meaning and the one that still means the most to modern America and one we may hopefully be able to learn from. 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Making of a Sports Team

By Angel Matos

“In high school I loved to play Lacrosse and Football. I remember my coach would tell me to keep with Lacrosse and bag Football, but I thought to myself, ‘What did he know?’ Right? ...Turns out I should have kept with Lacrosse.”
--Michael Looney, Assistant Coach for STAC Athletics

On the evening of Tuesday April 8, 2014 at 9 pm, a group of eager, young men gathered in the lecture room Costello 103. Just from a glance, I knew that many of us were clueless as to what the night would hold for us. Coach Michael Looney sent a group text to the men who signed up with him earlier that week, describing where to meet and mentioned the possibility of throwing the ball around. When Coach Looney made his way to the front of the room, everyone’s face lit up with excitement.

Two weeks prior to the meetup, Coach Looney sat by the STAC security office with large signs hanging behind him displaying Field Hockey, Baseball and more importantly Men’s Lacrosse. For a while, the school was only offering Women’s Lacrosse, which was unfair to the students, particularly males, who have played contact sports in their high schools and then come to STAC and there are no opportunities to play. That is talent gone to waste, if I may say. Luckily, the decision was made to introduce Men’s Lacrosse to the school, giving many young men another possibility to gain some Spartan Pride.

On the night of April 8, Coach Looney gave the young men a clear breakdown of what the main goal of the Men’s Lacrosse program was. He began by explaining that the program will be considered a club sport and running on a club schedule.

“Playing on a club schedule can go one of two ways: 1) We can be the sort of club league that goes out to the field, throws the ball around a few times and then we have a kegger on the field or 2) We can be the club league that practices hard and goes off to weekend tournaments with other club Lacrosse leagues and competes. We’re going to be the club Lacrosse that practices hard and competes in tournaments every weekend,” he said.

The men who were in attendance that night were given an honorable opportunity to become the start of a legacy at STAC by becoming the inaugural team for STAC Men’s Lacrosse. For those who continue to follow the program or become interested along the way, they will be given practice sessions from two potential coaches, whose credentials are spoken highly of, and play on a club schedule for the program’s first season, Spring 2015. The following season, tryouts will be implemented and the Men’s Lacrosse program will evolve from a club sport to achieving the program's main goal: becoming a Division II team at STAC.

There is time between now and Spring 2015 to recruit more athletes to participate in this program as well as time to practice on Lacrosse skills. Of the men at the meeting, only a couple had a decent amount of experience and there were even a few who never played the sport before. The rest in attendance had experience playing the sport but it’s been some time since they last played.

There will need to be dedication to the practices and the sport itself to compete with Long Island schools with a longer-running Men’s Lacrosse program like Molloy College. But there is no doubt that STAC will have yet another sport bringing school pride and spirit to its doors.

Angel Matos is a student at St. Thomas Aquinas College who is a Career Ambassador on campus and is going for a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Arts. He is determined to use the skills he learns to pursue a career in public relations or broadcast television.

Mentoring 101

By Angel Matos

Recently, I was given the opportunity of attending a year-end event held by the auditing company KPMG. For those who are unaware, KPMG is one of the four most successful accounting firms as well as one of the largest professional service companies; and it showed. Upon arrival at the KPMG worksite in Montvale, NY, we were surrounded by big glass windows and a metallic decor that made the whole entranceway pop. Everything was very organized; the lanyard nametags that were given to us had a back-up safety pin.

We were escorted to the room in which the event was being held and from the moment you walked in, it felt like a dining hall for a resort, with a keen eye for white and blue. It was refreshing. Those who designed the interior of the room kept in mind that people may try to fall asleep and it was wise thought because the sunlight bounces all around the room. It also seems that they were so determined to make sure that no one falls asleep by having snacks like cookies and Starbuck’s coffee and even funnel cake! I am not one to overlook careful planning and that is certainly what occurred in making the event happen.

The event was one for their mentoring program that allows selective colleges/universities, such as St. Thomas Aquinas College, to pair a student with a trained and passionate mentor. The mentor will then help the student in building confidence, in making career choices or any other sort of support that the student may need to be successful. At the event, the students who were assigned a mentor were given a chance to meet with their mentors and “break the ice.”

The event was designed around professional tips to ensure a successful interview, business lunch and proper business attire. There was even a PowerPoint presentation depicting all of the possible tips for success as well as a few fun facts about the company, for example, how the “K” in their KPMG logo has a specific angle to it and any other form of it would be incorrect.

Overall, it was a wonderful event and I am happy to have been able to attend and learn all of the professional tips from business professionals at one of the four biggest accounting firms worldwide.

Speech 101

By Angel Matos

On April 14, students in a Mass Media class gave speeches on the most valuable form of media in their lives. The topics varied widely from a handheld smart phone to Facebook to a video game. For whatever the medium of choice, the student was required to write why that particular medium is so valuable, give its history, the reason for its popularity as well as what the unforeseen future is for the medium.

We had St. Thomas Aquinas College instructor Dr. Barbara Klein at the helm, so the students knew they had to give their speeches a bit more pizazz than just the ol' statue-reading-from-a-page kind of speeches. And I was most impressed by what I saw.

There were two presentations in particular that really made me sit at the edge of my seat with excitement. One was about the comic book company DC Comics and the other about one superhero everyone knows and loves, Superman. These two caught my eye, not only because I am a fan of superheroes and what-not, but it was due to the fact that there were hardly any words in the media presentations as the students spoke, instead the presentations provided amazing pictures with vibrant colors, vintage looking comic books to newer versions.

The other aspect that really had me going “wow” and “ahhh” was the information they were dishing out. The pictures were worth a thousand words; I got to learn about the history of Superman and DC Comics, which is the comic book company that thought up Superman in the first place, in one sitting. The best part was how articulate the students were with their speeches.

As Dr. Klein pointed out to each student, “I could tell that with the medium you chose, that you were comfortable with what you were talking about.” And that, folks, is part of what makes a great speech, knowing the information so well that it is almost second nature to talk about. Finally, with applause all around, each student was recognized for his or her great work and courage in public speaking.

Derek Jeter: Shaping the Arc of My Life

By Deven Del Priore

Ever since I was a boy and knew what baseball was, I knew who Derek Jeter was. I didn’t just know who he was though, I adored him. He has been my role model since I found out what baseball was.

When I was younger, my dad would always try to get me to like the Mets, by buying me jerseys and other apparel that represented them. On the other hand, my mom was a big Yankee’s fan. So, she would buy me a bunch of Yankee shirts and jerseys so the Yankees would be my favorite team. I think its safe to say that my mom out shopped my dad and got me to like the Yankees. Once she knew I liked the Yankees, she threw Derek Jeter directly in my head.

At first I just thought he was my favorite player, but as I got older I realized he is more than that. He was a role model that represents how the game should be played, and how you should carry yourself on the baseball field.

He was not only a big influence on the game itself, he was also a big influence on why I started playing the game. I loved baseball, but Jeter made me obsessed with it. I would watch Jeter play as much as I could so I could take some tips on how he hit, or how he threw. In my eyes he was perfect and I would do anything to be just like him. I always want to strive to be the best, and Jeter gave me that drive to do so because that’s the kind of attitude he had. That’s the the kind of influence Jeter had on my player career at a young age, which I carried throughout my life up until today.

Jeter was drafted in 1992, right out of Kalamazoo Central High School in Michigan. Although Jeter was born in New Jersey, he moved to Michigan when he was four years old with his sister Sharlee. Jeter would spend summers with his grandparents, where they would take him to Yankees games, and watch Dave Winfield. This is where he became a true fan of the game.

Now, Derek Jeter has been playing baseball ever since I was born, which was in 1995. He is now retiring in 2014, and this will be called his farewell tour. Every time he goes to a new stadium he gets everyone out of their seat, because everyone in that stadium knows they are looking at one of the best players in baseball history. The fans aren’t the only ones who give him recognition though. The organizations Jeter has been playing with throughout his entire career give him the utmost respect, and reward him on his outstanding career by giving him a gift in symbol of saying “farewell.”

It’s not going to be the same not seeing Derek Jeter wearing the pinstripes anymore, since I’ve been seeing it my entire life.

Deven Del Priore is a student at Saint Thomas Aquinas College. “I am undecided right now, but am leaning toward the Communication Arts field. I am on academic and athletic scholarship here to play baseball for the Spartans. I play catcher, and I give all the credit for me being where I am in my baseball career to my father. I live in Point Pleasant, New Jersey. I am nineteen years young and when I get older I hope to be a successful coach and journalist for a company in New York City.”

Cross-Country Skateboarding

By Brian Clifford

Joseph D’auria III, age 20, of Sparkill, NY made the decision last winter to pack up and leave Rockland County for warmer weather. He and his two friends, all skateboarders, packed his Crown Victoria and drove west. They drove west until they couldn’t drive any further and ended up in Anaheim, CA to pursue their dreams of becoming sponsored skateboarders.

Joey has been skateboarding since his neighbor gave him a skateboard at the age of 7, and hasn’t stopped since. He said, “It’s just something I’ve always done and I love doing so I saved up my money and left the cold to go do it in California.”

His mother remarked, “Joey was always an ambitious kid growing up, he was always willing to take the risks to try new tricks and was never discouraged even if it got him injured. It was no surprise when he came in and told us he saved enough money to move to the west coast and pursue his dream.”

They hit the road on a Sunday morning and started driving west. Not only was this a chance for Joey to go pursue his dreams, it was also a chance for him to see the country. He said, “I think everyone should drive across the country at some point in their life. Growing up in the Northeast you only get a taste of what America really looks like. But once you drive through all the small towns in different states and see how different the landscapes can be you really start to understand how great this country truly is.”

He continued to tell me about how they hit the road and they drove as long as they were able to focus on the road and only stopped when they absolutely had to, because they were just so eager get to their destination.

When they finally got there, he was overcome with a sense of home. He said, “I felt like I was supposed to be there, everything about it, the weather, the people, just the way the city looked. I was excited.” He moved in with a friend who had been living in Anaheim for two weeks before Joey and his friends had gotten there. He flew cross country, while the other three decided to make the trek in the car. The next day he would start his new lifestyle pursuing his dream to get sponsored.

They awoke early and hopped in the Crown Victoria to go to LA to begin skating the parks in hopes of being spotted by a scout. They did this almost every day and they made a lot of different connections along the way. He talked to the scouts from various sponsored teams and was able to get his name to them and show them his talents.

Unfortunately for Joey, it just wasn’t his time yet to get sponsored during this time.

Although his efforts did not end with a sponsorship and a new life, he did not get discouraged. He reflects on this trip to the coast as a huge learning experience. He not only learned a lot about himself as a skater, but also about himself as a person. “I took a chance; I saved my money and moved out for the winter. I knew it was a risk but it was something I needed to do for myself. I love California and yes I plan to go back as soon as I can.”

Currently, he is back working at a golf course in Sparkill, NY, saving up his money until he can make the long journey again. He really wants to go back next winter.

“I hate the cold, I hate not being able to skate because there is snow on the ground and it isn’t as easy to find places indoor worth skating. I just want to go back to California so I can skate all year long. Plus it’s just a different atmosphere there, the people are more relaxed and so is the lifestyle. I can’t wait to make the next trip,” he said.

He is still skating in New York, and taking all of his days off to go to the city to skate around and still has the chance to get sponsored. Continuing to be optimistic and relentless in his efforts, I believe we may see him sponsored soon enough. This is his passion and he is making it work. I think everyone can take a lesson from his ambition and attitude towards fighting for his dream.

Brian Clifford is a senior at St. Thomas Aquinas College majoring in Communications. "I have an internship with the Rockland Boulders this summer doing film work for some of the home games. I also am the afternoon starter at Rockland Country Club a few weekdays and weekends. I will be graduating in December from St. Thomas and hope to find a job in the field of TV production."

2014 New York International Auto Show

By Devan Lau

It’s that time again at the Jacob K. Javits Conventional Center where most automotive enthusiasts and gear heads including myself attend the annual New York International Auto Show. With 840,000 square feet of exhibition space, it is home for showcasing the variety of cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs from many automotive manufacturers, both import and domestic. Many spectators of all ages and from the surrounding tri-state area attend the show to view this year’s latest automotive unveilings and to witness the debut of the latest automotive technologies.

The New York International Auto Show was first held at Madison Square Garden in 1900. This was considered to be the very first automotive show in North America. From 1956 to 1987, it was held at the NY Coliseum at Columbus Circle. After 1987, the NY Auto Show moved to the Jacob K. Javits Center.

There was a myth in 1924 that the NY Auto Show management refused to display the first Chrysler at their premises. The Chrysler Corporation had to display their automobile in the lobby of the Commodore Hotel instead. Despite going through the decades of war, depression, energy crisis, and recession, the NY Auto Show always kept its tradition to debut the latest automotive innovations.

This year’s auto show debuted many new production and concept vehicles and new automotive technologies. The notable debuted production cars unveiled were the 2015 Dodge Challenger, 2015 Infiniti Q70L, and the 2015 Ford Mustang. The notable concept vehicle unveiled was the E-Carriage.

2015 Dodge Challenger: With the return of the Scat Pack and the Shaker since 1970, Dodge is ready to “shake” on the muscle car competition with the 2015 Challenger. New for 2015, the Challenger receives a more retro styling on the exterior with new LED accented headlamps and LED rear tail lamps and a revised split grill similar to the 1970 Challenger. The interior delivers styling influences from the Charger sedan with high quality build materials and an 8.4 inch U-Connect infotainment system display.

The star of the show is its 6.4 Hemi V8 Scat Pack Shaker, producing 485 horsepower with 475 lb. ft. of torque paired with a six-speed manual or the new TorqueFlite eight speed automatic transmission, with four-piston high performance Brembo brakes and 20 inch aluminum wheels. Also included is the functional Shaker cold air induction hood scoop that provides the unique retro-styling. New safety features and technologies in the Challenger included adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, 9-11 call assist, and forward collision warning. The 2015 Challenger is expected to arrive in dealerships in the late summer.

2015 Infiniti Q70L: Since the demise of Infiniti’s Q45 flagship sedan in 2006, Infiniti needed a spiritual successor. Formally known as the M series sedan, the Q70 is not only a restyled version with a new name, it is proving to be the spiritual successor that Infiniti wanted. With the popularity of its German competition, such as the BMW 7 Series and the Mercedes-Benz S Class, Infiniti responded to the competition with the long wheelbase model, the Q70L. The Q70L provides the necessary legroom and comfort along with highly crafted materials, quiet ride, and best in class performance and handling. The aggressive styling with the new double arch grill is based from Infiniti’s smaller sedan, the Q50. Engine choices for the Q70 are 3.7 6 cylinder engine or a 5.6 direct injected 8 cylinder engine, all paired with a 7 speed automatic. The Q70 offers either long or short wheelbase, while the hybrid model only comes in the short wheelbase configuration. Availability dates for the Q70 is currently unavailable but is projected in the late fall to early winter release.

2015 Ford Mustang: The Ford Mustang was first introduced at the 1964 World’s Fair. To commemorate its 50th anniversary, Ford unveiled its 50th anniversary edition for the sixth generation Mustang which was introduced in December of 2013. Ford also pulled the same Empire State Building publicity stunt that was first shown in 1965. To make the car appeared that it is on the Empire State Building, workers have to disassemble the parts individually where it is carried into the elevator and reassemble it at the top of the building.

The styling for the 50th anniversary edition Mustang followed its roots from the 1964 ½ Mustang with the chrome grill and a unique interior with the gauge clusters resembling the gauge font from the 1964 ½ model.  For the 50th anniversary edition Mustang, it will only offer in two color choices: Wimbledon White or Kona Blue. Consumers can also pick either manual or automatic transmission choices. Distinctive 50th anniversary badges can be found on the exterior with the insignia imprinted on the unique two tone cashmere and black leather seats. Only 1,964 of the 50th anniversary edition will be built when it arrives in the fall.

E-Carriage: With the news of animal rights activists and Mayor Bill De Blasio proposing to ban horse drawn carriages, a new proposed alternative has been introduced in the auto show, the E-Carriage. The E-Carriage resembles to a 1920’s Ford Model-T and the city proposes to use 68 of them in Central Park to replace the traditional horse-drawn carriages.

The E-Carriage can accommodate eight passengers and weighs 7,500 lbs. It also contains parts and components that are found in Ford’s commercial trucks. The E-Carriage meets the NHTSA’s safety requirements, with seatbelts for the passengers also included. It is powered by a lithium ion battery pack with an electric motor of 84 horsepower, which provides a driving range of approximately 100 miles. The top speed is 30 mph but will only drive 5 mph due to the strict speed limits in Central Park. The prototype cost $450,000 to be built by the Florida based company, Creative Workshop. If the legislation approves the ban of horse-drawn carriages, New Yorkers and tourists will expect to see more of the E-Carriages in Central Park, ending the era of horse-drawn carriages.

This year’s auto show continued to raise the bar with the debut of innovative automobiles and technologies. The show, which just ended, ran from April 18 until April 27.

For more information:

Devan Lau is a 22-year-old junior at St. Thomas Aquinas College majoring in Communication Arts. He is a transfer commuter student who previously attended Bergen Community College and received his Associates Degree in Broadcasting. He is hoping to find a career in Television Production and post-production editing in television commercials when he is expected to graduate in Spring of 2015. His favorite past-times and hobbies are going to the NY Auto Show, test driving new automobiles, and listening to Jazz music on 88.3 WBGO.

The Fearsome Story Behind Jaws

By Nikki Zaidan

Thinking back to sun-soaked summer afternoons lying on the beach, countless hours spent searching for seashells in the sand, and the unreserved joy of playing in the surf, the last thought in a person’s mind would be a shark attack. Unless, of course, they have seen Jaws.

To briefly summarize, Jaws is about a man named Chief Brody, played by Roy Schneider, who is the police chief in his town and who works together with Robert Shaw, a fisherman, and Richard Dreyfuss, a marine biologist, in order to stop a Great White Shark that has recently been attacking people in his island town. The film is 124 minutes, and is rated PG for film and TV-14 for television, according to Commercially speaking, reports that Jaws made more than $430 million around the world, with only about $8 million for its original budget.

Released in June 1975, Steven Spielberg’s Jaws will soon be celebrating its 39th anniversary. Many people know the film or are at least familiar with composer John William’s infamous Jaws theme. The theme itself may be simple, but critics agree that is holds a certain power, so much so, the Jaws musical score is placed in the top 10 unforgettable movie scores, according to an American Film Institute survey conducted in 2005.

The story of Jaws is based on a best-selling novel from 1974 by Peter Benchley, which was “very popular,” as John Williams said. What many people may not realize is that Jaws was inspired by shark attacks that occurred in New Jersey in 1916, according to a Daily Mail article by Nina Golgowski.

According to The Museum of Unnatural History website, Beach Haven, New Jersey was a town that many people considered safe, at least before July 1, 1916. On that date, Charles Vansant, only 25 at the time, had most of his left leg bitten off by a Great White Shark, and died about an hour after his attack. According to the website, Vansant’s injury was so serious that he most likely would not have survived in this century, even with the advances of modern medicine.

Five days later on July 6, Charles Bruder was attacked and died by the coast of Spring Lake, only 45 miles north from the last attack. The next victim to die was Lester Stillwell, an 11 year old who was in Matawan Creek with friends at the time of his attack on July 12. In an effort to save Stillwell and catch the shark, Watson Stanley Fisher jumped in. However, the shark attacked him as well and in the struggle to escape, Fisher’s inner right thigh was bitten severely. He died shortly after arriving at a hospital. On the same day, about half a mile away, Joseph Dunn suffered an attack but survived as a result of his friends’ quick thinking to pull him out of the water.

After the violence and uncertainty surrounding the attacks, relief came when a Great White Shark was captured in Raritan Bay about two days after the last incident. According to Golgowski’s article, fishermen asserted that there were 15 pounds of human bone and remains inside of the captured shark. Because people never really had any experience in the past with sharks or shark attacks, there was a fear of the unknown and the attacks became even more terrifying for people. The brutality of these attacks lasted through the years, so much so, it served as inspiration for future books and films decades after.

It is clear that this movie has greatly impacted people, be it from the content or style, however this film could have been significantly different had there not been technical difficulties. The mechanical shark that was used had problems and often broke, which caused frustration for Spielberg. Because of this, he had to alter his camera style; instead, he filmed a lot of the movie from the point of view of a shark, which many critics commended because it created a sense of fear.

People can give different meanings to their film experiences. Steven Spielberg once said, “When I first hear the word Jaws, I just think of a period in my life when I was much younger than I am right now, and I think because I was younger, I was more courageous…or I was more stupid. I’m not sure which. So when I think of Jaws, I think about courage and stupidity. And I think of both those things existing under water.”

With this idea in mind, have you experienced Jaws for yourself yet?


Nikki Zaidan is a sophomore majoring in English and Communication Arts at St. Thomas Aquinas College. She is in the Spartan Comedy Club and tutors French, English, and Sociology at the Center for Academic Excellence. Her interests include spending time with her friends and family as well as watching films, reading, and writing. She aspires to pursue a career in either writing or film production after she graduates.

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Cost of $200

By Vincent Walker
On the face of Earth, Northvale, New Jersey is a very small section. This Bergen County town is just about one square mile.  Within that mile are families who raise their children and thousands of people who love their life, however humble or elaborate they may be. The small town has gone through some big changes in recent years. People have come and gone. Since the 1990s the average new-home size has increased along with the number of stores in the area.

Not all, but most of the people who have lived in this town for decades stayed true to themselves. One of the iconic people in the town is the former Mayor, Paul Bazela.  He is the former mayor, not because he was beat in a re-election race, but because he is now a convicted felon and will most likely be serving around two years of his life in jail.

Many people who achieve a spot in office have to try really hard to get people to like them. These kinds of people often make promises they cannot keep and only do good for the community when it’s going to be noticed by many people and or put in the newspaper. This, however, is not the case of Mr. Benzela and his larger-than-life personality. He is the kind of person you hear before you see, and he is also the kind of man who would give away the shirt off his back if it would benefit someone else.

This situation happens in many towns-–a corrupt mayor who gets caught and has to go away. This case, however, is very different. Paul does not have a lifestyle which includes BMWs and Mercedes in the driveway of a large new brick home. Rather, he has a modest ranch, the same home he has owned since moving into town. His wife drives a minivan, and he drives a Nissan car.  This man does not appear to have made any big financial gain at all.

Paul Bazela worked for the Passaic Valley Sewage Authority, and he was not the boss. He did as he was told. When he was told by his supervisor to work overtime fixing things for his supervisor’s family, he had no choice. He could have said no, but then how would he feed his wife and three children? He spent around half a work day doing odd jobs at his supervisor’s mother’s home, and the total he earned for this was about two hundred dollars. This is why the town’s mayor will be going away. His overtime added up to approximately two hundred dollars, which is about a week’s worth of food.

Why is it that Paul Bazela will be going to jail and other more corrupt people who are living the high life off embezzlement or selling drugs only get house arrest to spend time in their lavish homes? A possible answer to this is that politics and his role as a mayor played a part in his arrest. Perhaps he is an easy target to use as an example; maybe his political enemies do not want to see him have any power. No matter the reasons for his arrest and conviction, it is hard to argue that sending a man to jail for two hundred dollars of overtime pay is justice in any form .

For more information:

Vincent Walker a young and proud American and New Jersey native. He is currently a student at St Thomas Aquinas Collage and his main studies include graphic design and journalism. He is currently employed in the pharmaceutical industry and is also beginning the process of obtaining a real estate sales persons license. Some of his main goals are to become a journalist and work for a television station; this has to do with his obsession with the finding of truth in public situations. Vincent, whose mother is a town politician, also hopes to obtain  political power and have his name known for bettering society in some form. His passion in life is to become a father of three. Vincent’s favorite author is Andrew Morton and favorite journalist is Greta Van Susteren.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Perfection: UConn Women's Basketball Team

By Samantha Burden

The University of Connecticut’s women’s basketball team cannot be stopped, winning their ninth straight NCAA title. With head coach Geno Auriemma, an exceptional coaching staff, and the most elite players in women’s Division One basketball, there seems to be no end in sight to the Huskies domination.

With a record of 40 wins and 0 losses in their 2014 season, the UConn Huskies obtained the perfect season. This year, they defeated teams by an average margin of thirty five points; basically, they blew out almost every opponent they faced, with their “closest” game being their 21 point win over Notre Dame. Keep in mind, they were playing the top teams in the country and still continued to win in such fashion. Notre Dame, for example, was also undefeated—since this was the first year that the two rivals had not had to face each other in the regular season.

In the NCAA final game, for the first time in women’s basketball Division One history, two undefeated teams were facing each other: UConn Huskies and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

Notre Dame, like UConn’s 2014 team, was comprised of Muffet McGraw, one of the most winning and respected coaches in college basketball, and All-American players such as Kayla McBride and Jewel Lloyd. On paper, the teams matched up well and fans expected this final game to be the best game they’d see all year. No team, at the time, had been a match for UConn and if there was a team that was going to beat them, it would be Notre Dame.

The NCAA final game started off competitive as the lead tossed back and forth between the Huskies and the Irish. The Irish only trailed by 7 points at halftime, and still gave people hope that the Huskies just might lose. However, these dreams were quickly shattered as Connecticut came out of the half and went on an 18-5 point run. The Irish would never come close after this.

With the final score of 79-58, UConn, yet again, proved their dominance. They took Notre Dame’s elite program and squashed them, just like any other regular team. They proved that even though both teams were undefeated, UConn was the best team in the country without question. The rivalry has now gotten more intense than ever, as both the players and coaches wanted to prove that they are the best. Clearly, Geno Auriemma and the Huskies won this battle.

All-American seniors and now future WNBA players Stefanie Dolson and Bria Hartley were keys to the Huskies’ win. Stefanie grabbed 16 rebounds, finished with 17 points and seven assists; almost reaching a triple double. Hartley added 13 points. The seniors have lead this team to win four NCAA titles in the last six years; and, most recently, lead the Huskies this year to a perfect season.

Perfection. When anybody thinks about women’s college basketball, you think of the UConn Huskies. They are the most dominant and simply best team in America and unfortunately for the rest, they just keep getting better. What these girls achieved this season is something that all women’s basketball players dream of. They set the bar and are extremely good role models for players in all levels of basketball.

Samantha Burden is a freshman at St. Thomas Aquinas College. Samantha is 18 years old and a member of STAC's Women’s Basketball team. She is undecided in her major, torn between communication arts and business finance. Samantha is currently dorming at the school, but lives on Long Island, New York. In her spare time, Samantha enjoys drawing and painting.

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Makings of a College Athlete

By Steven Henrici

Back in Teaneck, it was the big game of Old Tappan basketball for the 2013 State Sectional Semi Finals. Old Tappan came in at 18-9 and had lost  to defending State Champion Teaneck both times during the season in blowout margin. Sadly, things did not change for my Golden Knights, as we fell 92-66 to end our season. Me and our four other seniors tried to hold back our tears, knowing that this was the last high school basketball game that we will ever play. Although I did not play that much in my entire high school career, I was determined to keep playing in college.

I think part of me wanted to prove to people that I never got the playing time I deserved in high school and still had the athletic abilities to play in college. Another part of me just wanted to continue playing the game that I love. After the season ended, my high school coach did everything he could to help me pursue my dream of playing college ball. I was not recruited by any schools because of so little high school experience, so if I was to play at any school it would have to be as a walk on.

Coach always told me to put my education first. I got into to about 12 schools, most being local schools. In April of last year I had made a decision to go to Bloomsburg University and play basketball. Their coach had told me that I could come and try out but there would obviously be no guarantees, stating that they had many returning players at their Division 3 level.

In July, just  a month before school started I took one more look at St. Thomas. Aquinas College. I met the coach in person and talked to him for the first time. I went to some open gyms in the summer, met with the players and worked out with them.  I told coach how much it would mean to just be part of the team. At 6 foot 6, 220 pounds I was not your normal walk on. And Coach Anderson knew that.

After thinking it over with my family I decided to change my decision on Bloomsburg and stay home and attend St. Thomas and be part of the Division 2 basketball team there. Basketball was really important to me and going to St. Thomas meant I would have the best chance to play.

I had a really enjoyable freshman season this past fall as a walk-on at STAC. I built some very good relationships with the coaches and players and even got to play a little bit and be part of what turned out to be a very good team. We finished 15-14 and lost in our conference championship game, pulling two upsets on our way there. After the team went just 5-25 last year and had not made playoffs in 6 seasons, I felt really lucky to have jumped into this situation with a new coach and seven new players including myself. It was a honor being part of turning this program around for the first time in a while.

It was not all fun and games, though. This year was the hardest I had to work in my life between sports and school. In high school my basketball season began after Thanksgiving and ended no later than mid-March, this season began in July when I first had met with coach and began summer workouts.

In September when school began, I was also getting ready for basketball. Three days a week I was up at 5:30 in the morning to go and run at the local park with the team. We also lifted weights on the other days and had short individual workouts or ran “suicides” on the court. Conditioning was long, hard, and tiring but it was worth it in the long run. I don’t think we would have performed as well as we did during the season if it was not for all the pre-season work we put in. It was very tough to balance a college sport with my school work, but I was able to do it.

Through the ups and downs I really enjoyed my freshman basketball season at St. Thomas Aquinas College. I proved to myself and to other people that if you want something bad enough you can do it. Even though I did not play much at all in high school, I was able to come in as a walk on to a Division 2 program and play with kids at a very high level.

Steve Henrici is a freshman at St. Thomas Aquinas College studying Sports Management and is planning to minor in Journalism. He is hoping to manage his time with a future internship while playing on the Spartan basketball team. Steve aspires to a career in either sports broadcasting or sports writing.

Spartans Aim for Baseball Title

News Release

Spartan Baseball Team Aiming for Conference Title

Attention St. Thomas Aquinas College!! Your Spartan Baseball team is having a very special season so far. They are currently 22-13, with a conference record of 13-6. Picked to finished first in the preseason conference rankings, they currently are holding down the second seed. The Spartans have eleven more games to play, but more importantly, 5 conference games including a home and away series to end the season against #1 overall Dowling.

Come out and support the baseball team in their final game of the season against Dowling on May 4th at 1 pm!

-- Steven Henrici

Sunday, April 20, 2014

“Jack is Back”: 24 Returns on Fox

By Lauren Higgins

It has been four years since Fox’s hit show 24 ended its eight-year run on the network. Since then, rumors swirled that a movie based on the show was in the works and set to hit theaters in September 2013. Due to scheduling conflicts and disagreements with Fox, the movie never happened, leaving hopeful fans in disappointment. In May 2013, Fox surprised the nation and announced that 24 would be coming back to the network as a limited series entitled 24: Live Another Day, and would air the following year. Social media sites exploded with the news of the show’s return. After news that the movie was not happening, many fans were doubtful that the TV series was actually coming back on air.

24 first premiered in 2001, and people became immediately hooked following federal agent Jack Bauer, played by Kiefer Sutherland, experiencing “the longest day of his life.”  The show focused on Bauer along with his team at Los Angeles’s Counter Terrorist Unit, (CTU) and their efforts to protect the nation against terrorist plots. The show takes place over a 24-hour period, hence the name, with each episode occurring during one hour of the day. This premise of events occurring in real time was never done in television before, which made it so intriguing to viewers. Throughout the course of Season One, people were on the edge of their seats as they watched Bauer race against the clock to save a presidential candidate from assassination while trying to protect his family from danger. After the positive feedback from season one, Fox renewed 24 for another season.

Despite the writers' strike in 2007, 24 was fortunate to stay on the air for several seasons after its premiere. Critically acclaimed as one of the best shows on television, it was no surprise that 24 lasted as long as it did. After winning several Emmys and Golden Globe awards, the show’s success led to several paperbacks and a magazine. People were also able to purchase DVD box sets of every season months after each finale. This led to what we know today as “binge-watching,” a term used for people who watch hours of a program in one sitting, so that fans could relive their favorite seasons over and over again. Netflix, the popular movie and television streaming website, also offers its users all eight seasons, which has led to many newcomers watching the series, expanding the show’s fan base more than ever.       

According to Entertainment Weekly, “Nothing can stop Jack Bauer –not even cancellation!” The show was ultimately cancelled due to a significant drop in the show’s ratings. When Fox announced the reboot last year, people were skeptical whether or not the show would be the same. Live Another Day will follow the original idea of a 24-hour period; however, the season will only have twelve episodes in total. Executive producer Manny Coto notes, “We want to make this one a great new chapter in Jack Bauer’s life, and who knows? I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s another season.”

Production of 24: Live Another Day began earlier this year in London, England. The show plans to bring back memorable characters including quirky computer genius and loyal friend of Jack, Chloe O’Brian, played by Mary Lynn Rajskub. Fans are optimistic that some of their other favorite characters from previous seasons will also make a comeback, despite some of the new faces set to appear including Benjamin Bratt and Tate Donovan. Once word spread stating that a first look at the show will be featured during this years Super Bowl, fans were eager to tune in. Social media blew up over the 45-second commercial showing Jack and Chloe running from a car explosion with the famous “ticking clock” heard in the background. Although the commercial was a teaser, we can tell that not much has changed since we last saw Jack Bauer.

From preventing assassinations to stopping nuclear bombs, 24 has done it all. Keeping fans glued to the television screen and leaving them in suspense each episode, 24 has forever made television history. No matter the outcome of Live Another Day, Jack is back, and it is clear that the series will forever be known as one of television’s greatest accomplishments.

The new installment of 24 will premiere on Monday, May 5 at 8 pm.

For more information:
Rice, Lynette. "Start the Clock." Entertainment Weekly 11 Apr. 2014: 16-25. Print.

Lauren Higgins is a junior at St. Thomas Aquinas College studying Communication Arts and is planning to minor in Journalism. After securing an internship with NBC last summer, she hopes to intern again during her senior year. Lauren aspires to a career in television production after graduation.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

John Flaherty: From Yankee Catcher to Color Commentator

By Brian Clifford

Former New York Yankee and current YES Network commentator John Flaherty, whose baseball career began in the Rockland County Little League circuit, came to St. Thomas Aquinas College to speak to students in a Comm Arts Seminar class recently. He spoke honestly and openly about his experiences in Major League Baseball and his transition into television.

When he played in the Majors he was a catcher for several teams and many of us know that when he was with the Yankees he was backup to Jorge Posada. He told us that because he didn’t have the big name it added more pressure when making the shift to television. He knew he was going to have to be better at this career than many of the great ball players who made the shift before him. He took this attitude and worked hard to be where he is now and truly enjoys his career.

He is able to look back at the early days when he was full of nerves and laugh about his inexperience, he said, even though at the time he would watch the video and analyze his follies as his worst critic. He continues to be his toughest critic and that his why he has been so successful and has not been replaced. He talked about how he was lucky to use his college education after his baseball career ended and that he loves what he does. He only works 70 days out of the year and can spend his new found free time with his family and he values all of the time he gets with his family.

He left the class with two main messages. One, always believe in yourself and believe that your dreams can always come true. He said that at seven years old he dreamed of being in the Big Leagues and that with hard work he was able to make that dream come true. And secondly, be open to try new things and embrace new challenges because you will never know where they might lead you.

Flaherty told the class how he chose communications and public speaking as a college major because he was terrified of public speaking and wanted to face it head on. This major lead him to his current career and he loves going to work in the morning.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Spartan Track Team Hosts Second Annual Wing Night

By Meagan Jaskot 

On Saturday, April 5th, the St. Thomas Aquinas College men's and women's track and field team hosted the Spartan Wing Night for the second straight year. Athletes' families and friends gathered in McNelis commons dining hall where they enjoyed an assortment of food while watching the NCAA final four basketball tournament on the flat screen televisions.

This event was the third fundraiser held by the track team this year. Earlier this Spring, the team hosted a bowling night at New City Lances, as well as a fundraiser at Applebees in Northvale.

The event began at 7 pm and ran past 9. Admission to the event was twenty dollars. Included in the price of admission was unlimited food as well as raffle tickets for various prize baskets. Additional raffle tickets were available for sale for a chance at winning 50/50 raffle.

All profits go to the team’s budget to help fund meet entries and trip accommodations for overnight competitions. The Spartans have competed at a meet in Virginia the past several years; with additional funds, the team hopes to travel to new places in the coming year.

Head coach Lorne Marcus was pleased with this year's turnout, deeming the event a "great success." The team will return to action on April 19 at Georgian Court University for the East Coast Conference Championships.

Lou Gehrig’s Final, Best Play

By Samantha Burden
On July 4, 1939 Yankee Lou Gehrig gave one of the most famous and moving speeches in sports history.  “Today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this earth,” said Gehrig as he gave his farewell address in the sold-out Yankees Stadium after being diagnosed with the deadly ALS disease.

Gehrig played first base for the Yankees during the years 1923-1939 and played in a record 2,330 consecutive games. He won the Triple Crown award and had an overall batting average of .340. To this day, he is still one of the best baseball players to ever play the game. His illness came as a shock to many; one of the strongest athletes in the world was diagnosed with such a crippling disease.  Gehrig made the decision to retire in 1939, after having the worst season of his MLB career; he realized that he could no longer play with this disease. The doctors had given him three more years to live.

Lou Gehrig, one of the most talented and humble players in all of baseball, proclaimed in front of his family, friends, teammates, opponents, former umpires, and thousands of fans that he would be retiring from baseball. Despite his unfortunate state, Gehrig’s speech was filled with positivity and inspires people to look at the bright side in times of darkness.

As all felt sorry for the poor hand he was dealt, Gehrig proclaimed how lucky he felt to be alive and to be able to have played as a Yankee:

“When the New York Giants, a team you would give your right arm to beat, and vice versa, sends you a gift - that's something. When everybody down to the groundskeepers and those boys in white coats remember you with trophies - that's something. When you have a wonderful mother-in-law who takes sides with you in squabbles with her own daughter - that's something. When you have a father and a mother who work all their lives so you can have an education and build your body - it's a blessing. When you have a wife who has been a tower of strength and shown more courage than you dreamed existed - that's the finest I know.”

His optimism motivates and inspires everyone going through tough times to this day. His words "Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about the bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this earth” convey his appreciation for life; appreciation that we should all have and an attitude that we should all strive to imitate.

Lou Gehrig’s speech, although given 70 years ago, is still relevant to anybody going through a tough time. It can be read in full at

In his closing, Lou states, “So I close in saying that I may have had a tough break, but I have an awful lot to live for.” Lou Gehrig is a true inspiration and role model, his farewell speech indicates how he and how everyone should appreciate each day. He died less than two years after giving this iconic speech, but his legacy lives on--to appreciate, love and value your life.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Job Tip: Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

By Brian Clifford

I had the privilege of hearing Sophia Salis speak to my Communications Arts Seminar along with my classmates. A St. Thomas Aquinas College graduate, she currently works for Orange and Rockland Utilities in the communications department. She was a very energetic speaker who truly loves what she does and that was very inspirational. She spoke of her start at a local radio station, when the on air talent retired she was put on air and was forced out of her comfort zone. This pushed her to grow as a communicator and in her words, “you never grow if you stay in your comfort zone.”

When offered a new opportunity as a young professional, we should get out of our comfort zone in order to learn about ourselves. This mentality carried her to eventually take a job with a power company and got her back to being able to do what she really likes, which is writing. She spoke to us about how she hopes that Orange and Rockland will expand their social media output and eventually spread their internal newsletter to the public to show their customers what their current progress is in and out of the office. 

Getting Back in the Swing of Spring

By Brian Clifford

With winter finally fading and spring just around the corner, the driving ranges are getting packed. Not only are the golf teams from the local high schools holding their practice at the range, but every other golfer wants to get back to playing the game they love. 

The local public golf courses won’t be open for a few weeks because the snow has only just recently been completely melted away, so most golfers rely on the driving range at the moment. It wont be long until the golf courses open and people get back to playing with their usual foursome.

Working part time at Rockland Country Club in Sparkill, NY, I understand the inner workings of the golf season. We opened last week and even though it has been cold, golfers will play golf the second they hear the course is open. Once a golfer can start golfing they will usually take the opportunity regardless of the temperature. The long winter has been tough on the local golfer, they have been watching the PGA golf season for weeks now and looking out their windows at the snow on the ground.

Last year the courses opened two weeks earlier than they did this year, so when March came around this year many golfers expected to be able to play sooner. Once they started going over to the driving range, they haven’t stopped. With the Masters tournament coming up around the corner, many golfers will be itching to get back to playing, so the ranges can expect to be very busy soon.


By Vincent Walker

On the 1st of April at 8 pm, a concert was held on the front lawn of St. Thomas Aquinas College.  The concert was performed by student bands, some whom were accompanied by staff members as band members.

Setup began in the middle of the day with a portable stage that looked like a trailer, until it was unfolded.  This event gave students a reason to get out and enjoy the warmer weather of Spring on a fun evening. It also gave the “STAC band” members the chance to express their passions in front of fellow students.

The event was free, however, donations were encouraged as all proceeds from the concert donations went to the Rockland shelter for the abused as part of St Thomas Aquinas College’s campaign against violence. The donations, as explained by band members, were to be used for helping victims of domestic abuse have better lives. This was a great and successful school event because it let students have fun while at the same time coming out for a great cause.

The student concert stood out over many previous St. Thomas Aquinas College events because this one was quite unique and fun rather then a mixer with a presenter in the Romano Center or a weekend bus trip into New York City when most students have to work; this event gave students a chance to have a fun Tuesday.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Preparing for a Job Interview

By Devan Lau

In the process of gaining a job or a career, everyone has to write a cover letter to the company they want to work for and create their resume. However, the most important process is interviewing with the company. Interviewing can make the person feel nervous and anxious, but thanks to STAC’s Office of Career Development, there's a program that helps reduce the anxiety of the interview.

The Office of Career Development and Business Communications instructor Professor Elaine Winship held a Mock Interview Program on April 2 in Maguire Hall Room 133. Five recruiters participated: Lisa Brady, Human Resource Manager at Instrumentation Laboratory; Kimberly Ann Girardi, Talent Acquisition from Sterling National Bank; Marian Adams, NEA TAT Connector for Verizon Wireless; Laura Knopf, President of the North Jersey/Rockland Chapter for the Society for Human Resource Management; and Barbara McDonnell, Senior Technical Recruiter for Panasonic.

Most of the students who participated in the program were from Professor Winship’s CA 312 course, including myself. We were all dressed in professional attire and had our resumes in our possession in preparation for meeting the recruiters.

The program was both fun and an interesting learning experience. We were placed in groups of 4 to 5 students with one recruiter shuffled at each table. It ran for two sessions, with each group having 15 minute meetings per recruiter. Throughout the session, the recruiter gave out questions for each  student at the table, which provided a similar experience to a 1 on 1 interview.

I felt slightly nervous, but as I responded to the recruiter with honest answers, I felt more comfortable to get acquainted with the interviewer. Examples of interviewing questions given out by the recruiter included “Tell me about yourself” or “What are your accomplishments.” However, the recruiter sometimes asked S-T-A-R questions, which is abbreviated for S: What was the situation? T: What was the task? A: What actions did you take? R: What were the results?

Throughout each session, the interviewer provided key tips for interviewing. Marian stated that maintaining eye-contact with the recruiter is the main key. She also mentioned that taking deep breaths can help reduce the anxiety and pressure for the interview. Kim’s approach for interviewing focused on the core competencies to see if the applicant is qualified to be fit for the company. She also advised to respond in concise answers, not too much in detail.

Laura’s approach was different from the other recruiters. Her interviewing approach was more of a conversation with the applicant to be very sure you would fit in the company with the right qualifications. Lisa’s advice for the interview was to write about accomplishments including your past projects for the near future. Lisa also included taking notes and asking about when you are expected to hear back after the interview is completed.

Towards the end, the recruiters gave out top interviewing tips to all of the students. Marian recommended clearing your voicemail when you are expected to get a message from the recruiter. Lisa stated to be on time and create multiple resumes for different positions. Barbara pointed out that projecting positivity is import during the interview and especially to stay calm and not be nervous. Barbara added that saying negative remarks towards a previous employer or job experience would hurt their chances in an interview.

The session ended with Q and A session from students who asked for more interviewing tips. This program prepared students for how a job interview can be less stressful and feel less anxious when they practiced. This gave me an overall idea and feeling when I have to anticipate a future job interview.

Jimmy Valvano’s Famous Speech

By Steven Henrici

One of my favorite speeches is that by the late Jimmy Valvano in the summer of 1993 during the Espy Awards. Valvano came to the annual sports awards on August 3, 1993 to receive the inaugural Arthur Ashe Courage and Humanitarian Award. He was diagnosed with bone cancer just one year before and had been told he did not not have long to live. This did not stop him from making what is known as one of the most courageous speeches ever.

Jimmy Valvano announced the founding of The V Foundation for Cancer Research, with the motto of “Don’t Ever Give Up.”  He was entertaining and emotional, but more importantly, touched everyone that was there. “Cancer can take away all of my physical abilities,” he said. “It cannot touch my mind, It cannot touch my heart, and it cannot touch my soul.” Jimmy Valvano died two months later. He was only 47 years old.

Everything that Valvano said on that summer day in 1993 became legendary. Today the Division 1 College Basketball National Champion coach is honored for one week every year during the beginning of the college basketball season. A week is put forward to not only honor Jimmy Valvano and how great a person he was, but to provide money to the cancer fund that he started.  In 2013, ESPN’s 30 for 30 Films created a film about North Carolina State’s Championship run, called Survive and Advance. Along with the 1983 season, it also covers the final months of his life and his fight against cancer.

Spartan Comedy Club Presents "Jokers Unleashed"

For Immediate Release

St. Thomas Aquinas College’s Spartan Comedy Club
Contact: Nikki Zaidan,
Have a Laugh…“Jokers Unleashed” on April 23

The St. Thomas Aquinas College Spartan Comedy Club will be having an improv comedy show, called “Jokers Unleashed,” on April 23 from 7-8:30 pm in the Romano Center on campus. This event has free admission and all are welcome; in addition, there will be free pizza and soda.

“We will be doing our usual games,” says Spartan Comedy Club founder Sean Feeley, “but trying a new category of improv – long form. Long form is similar to the sketches performed by Monty Python and SNL. It starts with a seemingly normal story and then introduces a funny twist to expand on.” 

“The shows are always super fun,” added Spartan Comedy Club Member Sarah Montello. “Everyone comes out for a night of pizza and laughter, and it’s a blast. Everyone should come!”


Saturday, April 5, 2014

Social Media in Businesses

By Devan Lau

Throughout the daily lives of people, they communicate and share their thoughts and ideas throughout the use of social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. However, most businesses are using social media for its commercial purposes of communication. The Communication Arts department of St. Thomas Aquinas College held a panel discussion on “More Than Fun & Games: How Industry is Using Social Media” on March 20 at the Romano Student Center. It was hosted by Professor Elaine Winship with Dr. L. John Durney, the Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs as the moderator.

The panelists were Mark Durney, Director of Social Media from Havas Worldwide Strat Farm; Michael Fasano, Co-founder and owner of; Ryan Finch, Content Marketing of Wild Frog Studio; Elizabeth Kaminski, Publicist Assistant at Wunderkind PR, and Sophia Salis, Employee Communications Manager at Orange and Rockland Utilities. Ryan, Elizabeth, and Sophia are graduates of St. Thomas Aquinas College. 

The panelists first discussed how the social media impacted aspects of their jobs. Michael, the co-founder of, explained that using social media is highly useful for him and is a convenient method of reaching out to golf vendors quick and easy. Mark explained that social media helped him to highlight the business units for his marketing strategies and make connections easily with the brand’s audiences. Sofia mentioned that using social media for Orange & Rockland Utilities helped being in touch with the company workers and to report to people during storm restorations. Ryan explained that social media provided deeper information about a client’s business and helped him to better understand the business and their audience. Elizabeth pointed out that social media helped her to focus the relationships of authors and book publishers on the public especially with bloggers, which are a big presence within social media.

The panelists were also asked how social media impacted the corporate world. Sofia responded that for the utility company it provided information in a quick and fast flow to customers. Mark stated that social media brings in the customer experience, provides content marketing, and displays what they conversing about for bringing more customers. Michael pointed out that social media is the best way to interact with the customers and clients for his website. Ryan stated that using social media is successful and super relevant when dealing with potential clients. Elizabeth pointed out that social media is a public forum for clients and provides what they requested for their clients.

Towards the end of the meeting, the panelists gave their individual advice to the students on using their social media especially when they enter the working world. Michael stated that students must be careful with the content they put on because they will be judged for their personality. Michael also encouraged creating a LinkedIn account to put up their resumes and this may lead to a potential career. Ryan advised students to clean up your Facebook account, which may be an asset for the company you might work for and to brand yourself when searching for a job. Mark stated that you must practice what you’ve preached, as people can detect potential lies, and to understand how the social media really works for businesses. Sofia recommended engaging with people and share interests, which social media is the most effective way in reaching out.

Lastly, Elizabeth encouraged students to blog more often and to create separate accounts for social media for work and personal use. People attending this meeting learned that social media is not only for reaching out to friends and family but to make connections with clients and to build up networking for occupational use.

Dealing with the Consequences: Roosevelt Responds to the Pearl Harbor Attack

By Nikki Zaidan

President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed the American people after the bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese on December 7, 1941, and in his speech to Congress announced his plan for war on Japan after this “dastardly attack” on the United States.

According to Roosevelt, Japanese air and naval forces “suddenly and deliberately attacked” the United States of America, despite the fact that America “was at peace” with Japan, and was working “with the government and its emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific.”

Roosevelt said he strongly believes that “the attack was deliberately planned,” and that even though the Japanese Ambassador to the U.S. communicated with the Secretary of State that there was “no threat or hint of war or armed attack,” Japan’s government still arranged for the attack. President Roosevelt pointed out the significance of the distance between Japan and Oahu, which, he felt, revealed that the Japanese government decided to attack at least several days beforehand.

As a direct result of this “unprovoked” attack, there have been many American deaths, in addition to “severe damage” done to American ships and military forces in Hawaii.

Roosevelt recognized that many people have concerns with the situation and want action of some kind to protect themselves and the country.

“I believe I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again,” stated Roosevelt.

In addition to Japan’s attack on Hawaii and Midway Island, Japanese forces made attacks against Hong Kong, Malaya, Guam, the Philippine Islands, and Wake Island, which further provoked Roosevelt, as the Navy and Army commander in chief, to “[direct] that all measures be taken for our defense.”

Further, President Roosevelt addressed Congress with his plan for protecting the American people and requested that Congress officially declare war on Japan.

“No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion,” Roosevelt concluded, “the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory…With confidence in our armed forces - with the unbounding determination of our people - we will gain the inevitable triumph - so help us God.”

Roosevelt, Franklin D. "Franklin Delano Roosevelt." Pearl Harbor Speech December 8 1941. University of Groningen, n.d. Web. 29 Mar. 2014. .

Slightly Official

By Vincent Walker

To the general public, the Masonic Freemasons are seen as a mysterious entity and rumored to be part of the Illuminati out to carry out secret devious plots and pull the curtain over the eyes of the world. Contrary to such belief, the brotherhood known as the Masons is one of the oldest, most exclusive groups in the country having played a very important role in the creation of the  American nation  back in the 1700s.

Today this prestigious group takes on many helpful causes in the United States. One of those causes is education, specifically the education of learning disabled children, helping teach them how to read using a break-through specialized program called “Orton-Gillingham” to make sure that theses children are able to stand a fighting chance. I was one of the children taken in by this program funded by the Masons.

Shortly before I graduated the reading program, I was invited to speak at a Masonic meeting. I was told a large number people would be attending, but never expected what I actually ended up experiencing. It would turn out to be one of the most interesting, terrifying, and amazing experiences of my life.

I arrived at the center with my short speech in hand, which I had practiced and memorized, and was feeling pretty good, and found nothing to be to intimidated about  until I walked into the room where I would be speaking. It was a large room and had stadium style seating from floor to ceiling and not one chair was empty.  I stayed seated during the opening presenter’s speech. He was one of the higher up Freemasons, all dressed up covered in shining gold pins with symbols and logos, none of which I had any idea of the meaning behind.  He talked about the organization and services provided. He was loud and clear and had a direct tone; I think that helped set my mood.

I was then the next person to speak. I walked to the podium and, for the first time I could remember in my life, I felt so small and afraid. I glanced up and saw how many of those men were watching me, all making eye contact, or at least it felt like that. The fear was intense. 

Then I felt a flow of energy and empowerment, knowing that my words mattered to so many well dressed and important strangers, most of whom I’ve never seen in my life and may never again. I started my short speech and then glanced up again at the hundreds of eyes looking down, only to find hundreds of hands clapping. After the clapping stopped, the real meeting began and I wasn’t allowed to stay, being that it was official business, but nonetheless for the rest of the day I felt important, because on that day I found out that I thrive from public attention.

Diana: Not a Simple Woman, Not a Simple Death

By Vincent Walker

The 31st of August 1997 was a warm night in Paris, France. A large black Mercedes S280 sedan suddenly collided with the 13th pillar in the Alma tunnel at 12:25 am. Three of the four passengers in the car died due to injuries sustained from the violent crash. This car wreck stands out because the most famous woman of the 1980s and 1990s was traveling in that car and was pronounced dead nearly four hours later from injuries caused by it.

Diana Francis Spencer, more commonly know as Princess Diana to the world, was unmarried for one year and one day at the time of her death, following a public and messy divorce on August 30, 1996 from Prince Charles, the prince in line to the throne of England. The marriage ended due to cheating and other differences, however, Diana did not go away quietly. 

No longer Her Royal Highness, she still had a huge amount of public interest and she used her fame to bring attention to the public many things in the world that people had little awareness of. She was the first celebrity photographed holding hands with an Aids victim; she also made head lines for the work she did in Africa with land mine victims and led the world wide campaign to end the use of land mines. She almost succeeded in that goal , however, the treaty fell apart in September 1997 following Diana’s death.

Diana used her celebrity for good, however, the palace did not see it as that; the queen put out a statement calling her a “loose cannon.” Diana’s life had many up and downs; during one particular rough time in her marriage she sat at her desk and created a letter should her untimely death occur. Diana indicated in this letter that she feared her husband was “planning an accident in my car.”  Diana famously stated in a BBC interview that she would never be queen, but did not give a reason as to why; perhaps she did know her end was soon to come.
Death conspiracies are all too common among celebrity deaths, however, Diana’s cause of death has never been settled . In 2007, after ten years of conspiracies and public outcry, the British High Courts opened an inquiry and found the death to be an “unlawful killing.” Years after this, in 2013, the court reopened the case into Diana’s death, based on questions that had never been answered about the crash. Questions like why had the CCTV cameras in the tunnel stopped working just 30 minutes before the crash. Also why had the blood samples of Henry Paul, the driver of the car, later found out to be on the pay roll of the British government, been tampered with.

Other questions included why did it take two hours for the ambulance to drive to a hospital a few minutes from the crash?  Did the French medical system let Diana die? The hospital did make a statement that they could have done more to help but did not want to risk being responsible for putting the Princess in a wheel chair.

Or was it the paparazzis’ fault for chasing the Mercedes into the tunnel and snapping photos of Diana as she lay dying? No matter the case, a healthy 36-year-old iconic princess is dead. And, unfortunately, many charities and public issues possibly being resolved after being bought into the public eye by Diana died that night in Paris too. Hopefully, after over 16 years, the reasons for the death of Diana will not be a closed case.