Thursday, July 29, 2010

Classes begin a month from tomorrow - time flies when you are having fun.

I am in the office this morning sending some emails off to my seniors about their Practicum course which they will be taking with me this coming academic year. I have 16 students who will be out in the Burlington community for 8 - 10 hours a week working in some type of human services or educational setting. They are in class with me for 2.5 hours a week and since this is a full year course we get to know each other pretty well. Several of my students have already secured their placements and others are making contact now - I have been able to find a few additional sites for our students and the feedback from last year's sites lets me know that they LOVE having our students. Molly Millwood also teaches this course and she has 15 students who are going through the same process. Practicum provides our students with an exceptional opportunity to take what they have learned in their classes and apply these ideas/concepts/skills in an actual setting within a community. I received an email last night from Alex who is currently working as a "counselor" at a camp for kids with special needs and he was telling me what an amazing experience this has been for him this summer and that he is very much looking forward to Practicum and having an entire year of "real world" experiences. Last year was my first year supervising Practicum and I not only get to supervise our students, but I get to do site visits so get to hear directly from THEIR supervisors about this program. We are fortunate to have such a supportive community which recognizes the benefits of having our students at their sites.

Sadly, two weeks ago I attended the wake and funeral of Joe Maher - Joe graduated from Saint Michael's College in 1969 and was a member of our Alumni Board of Directors. Joe's wife Rosemary Minehan is the Presiding Judge at Bridgewater State Hospital in MA and a couple of years ago she came to speak to our Psychology Club on the legal issues of the mental health programs in MA. She then arranged for me to take six of my students from here to Bridgewater State Hospital for a site visit. Their son Joe graduated from SMC in 2008 and their daughter Anne graduated in 2009. The wake was amazing as the line outside the funeral home was continuous for 4 hours with no let up. I traveled to Plymouth, MA with Pat Gallivan, our Vice President for Institutional Advancement. Patrick had just come from one of our POW's trips (pre-orientation experience) and we met at Stowe and drove down together. While we were standing in line at the wake, a man came up to us and called out my name and I turned around and there was Ned Joyce who is an attorney in the Plymouth area and an alum of SMC. We had a chance to catch up and shared many stories about SMC. Joe Maher was an attorney in that area so the wake and funeral were full of attorneys and judges. A little later when my sister and my niece got there at the wake (Anne is my niece Maggie's best friend and so we all know the family well) and we waited again to go into the funeral home yet another man called out my name and he had graduated from SMC in 1989 and knew me from then - he had just spoken to Joe about two weeks prior to his death as Joe was passionate about helping out anyone who was connected to SMC. Joe had helped arrange a summer intern for this man's accounting firm. The funeral was very moving and was held in Duxbury, MA which is where the Maher family has lived for many years. Joe was a good man and someone I admired. His wife and his two "kids" spoke at his funeral and Anne said that two of the proudest moments in Joe's life were when his two kids graduated from SMC. There were around a dozen of Joe's classmates at the funeral and as we talked in the parking lot of the church, we all commented on the impact that Saint Michael's College had on this man's life - a true testimony to the amazing effect that this place I call home has on so many people. Rest in Peace Joe......

Back to work so please take care and be well and as always, please keep the members of our military and their families in your thoughts and prayers. As things heat up in Afghanistan, our thoughts and prayers are needed more and more each day......


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