Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Our alums continue to give back..............

Dr. Joseph Benamati graduated from St. Mike's many years ago and his daughter Mikel graduated from here in 2002. Joe currently serves as a member of the faculty at the Sanctuary Institute for the Andrus Children's Center in Yonkers, NY. Mikel is a clinical psychologist at her old high school in Saratoga, NY. Joe had offered to come to the College to speak with our students about issues of TRAUMA which is something we are only now coming to better understand IS an issue with so many more people than we have ever realized. I suspect that the current issue of PTSD in our military may be pushing this new surge in interest in the role that trauma plays in everyone's life. I took my Practicum class and Sue Kuntz took her Educational Psychology class over to the Pomerleau Alumni Center on Monday for a 2.5 hour presentation by Joe. Joe's presentation was excellent and the students asked some great questions - Joe didn't have time to answer all of their questions so he took them (they had written out their questions) with him and he will respond via email to me and I will get his answers to both classes. It was nice to see one of our alumni giving back to the College and I warned Joe that this will mean that we will ask him back again and again and he was fine with that. VP for Institutional Advancement Patrick Gallivan, Director of Alumni and Parent Relations Angie Armour and Assistant Director Allison Sherman joined us for a few minutes at the beginning of the presentation and expressed the College's appreciation to Joe for his visit.

On Saturday I was on campus grading papers and constructing my first Theories of Counseling exam - I am giving the exam on Thursday and I always try to get it constructed early enough that I can also prepare a review sheet for my students which I then post on eCollege. I don't see any reason to "surprise" them with questions - I tell them what they have to know and then ask questions geared towards that information - a simple formula which seems to work. I have a reputation for giving very difficult exams but students also always say that they are very fair and they appreciate that. On my way to the office Saturday I stopped off in the lobby of St. Ed's and visited with several of our alums who were on campus for the Career Symposium. Pat Lynch ('95), Kate Whitman ('99), Steve O'Neil ('09), David Hiltz ('10) Matt Haydun (?) and a couple other alums were all gracious enough to return to campus to provide support, information and networking for our current juniors and seniors. Given the state of our economy these days and how difficult it is for new graduates to find employment, this was an excellent opportunity for our students to gain valuable help and assistance. The Office of Career Services, the Office of the VP for Academic Affairs and the Office of Alumni and Parent Relations did a great job coordinating this event. It was dedicated to the memory of Joe Maher who was on the Alumni Board of Directors until his death this summer after a brief battle with cancer. Joe's son Joe and his daughter Anne (both graduated from SMC) and his wife, Judge Rosemary Minnehan (Rosemary came to campus to speak to our Psychology Club) were the loves of his life and his dedication to St. Mike's was amazing. This career symposium is something Joe would have been very proud of........
Tonight (Tuesday) we are holding a candlelight vigil in the chapel - this vigil is to heighten awareness of the issues confronting so many young people in our society. A joint effort by Edmundite Campus Ministry and Common Ground, this vigil is in memory of the young people across this country who have taken their own lives over the past few weeks - they were bullied and felt that they had no other options - we want to make sure that OUR students know - KNOW that they have a supportive, loving and caring community here and that "it gets better" even when/if there is pain in the moment. I am very proud of our community for coming together for dialogue, support and education around issues of loving acceptance, respect for ALL persons and a SAFER place for all. I am going to South Burlington High School tomorrow to speak with all of their seniors on the issue of bullying. I have been asked to do this by Andrew Samara ('08) who currently teaches there. Addressing bullying and expecting our schools to take these issues seriously and to confront racist, homo-ignorant, sexist and ethnocentrist language/behavior IS a priority and we all have to do something to create SAFER environments for our students - everywhere.

Take care, be well and as always, please keep the members of our military and their families in your thoughts and prayers.


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