On Monday students were outside on the lawn tossing frisbees dressed in shorts and short sleeved shirts - and today we have several inches of snow on the ground and it is still snowing - Jay Peak has even decided to re-open after closing for the season as they got 14 inches of new snow and are expecting an additional 7 inches today. Of course, this IS Vermont and the temperatures this weekend are supposed to be in the 70's or even in the 80's - THIS is why I love Vermont. I was planning on going kayaking this morning but instead will just ride the exercise bike in my home..... looking out the window at the snow continuing to fall and the accumulation of about 7inches.
Last night the SA (Student Association) had their final meeting of the year and Marilyn Cormier, adviser to the SA AND Secretary of the Board of Trustees of the College thanked the members of the SA for their good work this year and then presented SA President David Hiltz a gift from the President and the Board. Even in the final meeting students were challenged to support farm workers in Florida in their attempts to get a ONE CENT per pound of tomatoes picked increase which would in effect double their income. Several of our students/staff travel to Immokalee, Florida each year as part of the MOVE program and Josh Hoxie and one of his colleagues from the Student Labor Action Movement (SLAM) were part of that trip this year and asked the SA to sign a letter urging Sodexho to sign on to almost ALL major food producers in this requested increase. Our students were unanimous in their support - I challenged the SA several months ago to get MORE involved in educating themselves and our campus about the plethora (love that word) of issues confronting our society and to their credit, they rose to that challenge. This year the SA has dealt with so many different issues and they have really made a difference in the increase of awareness on our campus.
A week ago our new men's head basketball coach, Michael Harding was introduced by David to the SA and Michael spoke about his goals for our basketball program and how he hopes to better engage our students. He was a huge hit with the students as he is clearly comfortable working with young people - they want him to come back ("and bring your little boy with you") as he also asked them what THEY are looking for from our basketball program - a good choice and a good mix.
Tomorrow night we will hold our block M dinner. This is the end of the year Athletic Department celebration of a year of athletic competition. Each team is honored and coaches talk about their seasons and recognize outstanding members of their teams. It is a great time to thank our student-athletes for all of their hard work during the past year. It is not easy for any college student today to combine work outside of the classroom with a rigorous academic schedule. Student-athletes in particular spend countless hours both during and out of season on their sport. As the NCAA Faculty Athletic Representative I am asked to address the gathering and last year was incredibly proud to announce that 58 of our student-athletes had achieved an overall Grade Point Average of 3.5 or higher. In addition, I ask all student-athletes who have attained a 3.0 or higher to be recognized and am proud that more and more of our students attain that GPA each year. I am looking forward to tomorrow night and eagerly await the results of this year's academic achievement of our student-athletes. I picked up the Burlington Free Press this morning and they have a section on College Honors. Under academics was the following: " Dave Vorozilchak St. Michael's college: the senior won the Northeast 10's Scholar-Athlete Sports Excellence Award for men's hockey, recognizing success on the field and in the classroom. He ranked fourth among NE-10 defensemen in points (19) and third in assists (15) while maintaining a 3.7 grade point average in engineering." What the article doesn't include is what an amazing young man David is. I have come to know him quite well over his four years here and his leadership both on and off of the ice has made major contributions to the College. He served as a Resident Assistant in our Student Life Program, was an active member of our Student Athletic Advisory Council (SAAC) and has served as the male student-athlete representative on the College's Athletic advisory Council which I chair. His contributions to the College are very much appreciated and we will hate to see him graduate. I have also gotten to know his Mom and Dad and they often travel from their home in Pennsylvania for David's home hockey games - it has been fun over the years to introduce David's parents to the various faculty and staff who attend the home hockey games as to a person, we all praise this young man and thank his parents for sending him to SMC.
Although our seniors don't want me saying this - Friday IS the last day of classes and with finals next week, perhaps the snow will result in an increased grade point average. It is always emotional for seniors to find their time here coming to an end and sometimes they forget that we will miss some of them as much as they miss us. It is so rewarding to have the opportunity to watch young men and women arrive on this campus as first year students and then to watch them grow and mature. They make mistakes, they fall down, they get back up, they have their ups and downs and they LOVE their time here - you will be missed and I hope that you come back often........
take care, be well and please keep the members of our military and their families in your thoughts and prayers.