Friday, September 24, 2010

Follow-up on last weekend's Reunion - classes are great.

(Alex Higgins, Tully LaBelle-Hammer, Dave Vorozilchak - atop Prospect Rock in Johnson, VT)

I posted a new blog after the hall of Fame dinner last Saturday but then had the chance to connect with so many former students that I decided to add another comment or two about the weekend. Paul Lagermasini '91 was here to watch the men's soccer game and to meet up with a couple of his classmates and his former coach. Paul has been working with current Coach Franklin to provide support for our men's soccer team AND to do some networking for some of our seniors who are looking for employment after graduation. Paul works for Credit Suisse in New York City and has been great about helping our seniors. I introduced him to men's basketball player Nate Birr who is interested in the financial field and Paul was very helpful for Nate in not only reviewing his resume, but in making some great suggestions for Nate. During the afternoon soccer game I was also glad to see Pat Maller '91 whom I hadn't seen in way too many years. The year after they all graduated and they returned to campus for their first "reunion weekend" a bunch of us got together at Sneakers restaurant in Winooski and Pat drove over that morning from his home in Maine with a cooler full of fresh lobsters and we all had "eggs benedict" but with fresh Maine lobsters - I reminder Pat and Paul of that story and we had a few good laughs about the "old days." Alex Canning, Megan Sweezey, Erin Noonan, Jeff Hechenbleckner, Drew Millikin, Logan Thurnauer, Nick Botto and too many others to list here were all at the soccer game - perfect weather - good friends and great memories - it is always so rewarding to catch up with former students and to see how happy they are and to head about how their lives are going. Before the soccer game and after grading some papers in my office, I met up with four current/former members of our men's hockey team for lunch in Winooski at McKee's Pub. Pat McGuirk, Ryan Nest, Dave Vorozilchak and Alex Higgins all met me there and we had a great time - Ryan and Alex worked this summer at a camp for kids with behavioral issues in New York State and had an amazing time throughout the entire 8 weeks of this residential camp. They were able to put their psychology major to good use as they provided positive role models to youth who usually don't have such good role models. After lunch and before the soccer game I returned to my office and graded a few more papers from my Sports Psychology class - not bad for their first efforts and they seemed to take me seriously when I warned them that "you are either blessed or cursed that I used to teach English" and that I hold all of my students accountable for their grammar, spelling and punctuation...... They don't necessarily like it, but they did make an effort to keep their errors to the minimum. It seems as if today's youth are so used to the "language" of email and text-messaging, where shortcuts ARE the thing to do that they forget that "formal" writing does NOT include these shortcuts

On Sunday afternoon Dave Vorozilchak (PA), Tully Labelle-Hammer (AK) and Alex Higgins (AZ) came over to my house and we drove out Rte. 15 to Johnson where we then drove up Prospect Rock Road and hiked a short way up into the mountains. Dave is currently finishing up his Engineering Degree at UVM and living on campus here as he has been part of the SMC/UVM Engineering Program. Dave also was captain of last year's men's hockey team and his parents are the "salt of the earth" and great people whom many of us at SMC have gotten to know over the four years Dave played hockey. Tully is from Alaska and also on the hockey team and a member of the Wilderness Program where he has been trained to be a team leader. He too is in the Engineering Program and he has had two great internships the past two summers in Alaska. Alex is captain of this year's hockey team, a student in two of my classes and treasurer of our Psychology Club. I know that all three of them really enjoy the outdoors and Alex and I went kayaking a few weeks ago down at the Waterbury Reservoir. Dave has just taken kayaking up as a new hobby and Tully is a certified kayak trainer for the Wilderness Program. As you will see from the picture, there is a fantastic view from Prospect Rock and soon, very soon, the foliage will be in full color and I suspect that we won't have very many "leaf peepers" up there. The guys were very appreciative of the trip and we ended it with a stop at a Vermont Maple Sugar Outlet on rte.15 where we all go Maple Creemees :0 After that brief dessert we headed to Taft Corners in Williston, right up the road from my house and had pizza at Ramunto's - a buffalo chicken pizza with blue cheese dressing was just what they ordered - I have to say that I envy the metabolism of these three young men as they sure CAN eat........

It has been a good week for classes and yesterday's Theories class was exceptional as we were utilizing the Developmental Lab which has a two way mirror in it so students role play counselor and counselee while the rest of us observe from the other side of the mirror - it doesn't take long for the "counselor" to completely forget that there are 15 of us on the other side of that mirror - students study a theory on Tuesdays and then have the chance to operationalize that theory AND use the counseling skills they are also learning on Thursdays in the lab. My Practicum class has all been placed and I have 15 students who are now working in community mental health agencies across Chittenden County for 8 - 10 hours a week and they are then in class with me 2.5 hours a week. I am looking forward to their discussions of their various sites and to how they will incorporate what they have learned in their psychology classes "on the job."

Back to grading papers - take care, be well and, as I always ask, PLEASE keep all of the members of our military - veterans and current members alike AND their families in your thoughts and prayers.


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