Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Graduation pictures and Winston Churchill's spy in WW II

Now that Commencement is really over with many of my students have posted graduation pictures on Facebook. In the second picture are Tully LaBelle-Hamer from Alaska and Alex Higgins from Arizona. Both were members of our men's ice hockey team and they are just two of the many, many amazing students I have had the privilege of knowing and teaching (and learning from) here at SMC. The other picture to the lower right is one with me and Samantha (SAM) Taturczak - she is another one of those exceptional students who not only excelled in the classroom (she took all but one of my classes so I know just how smart she really is) but she is someone who is an amazing role model for all students - especially for students in our residence halls as Sam has served as a Resident Assistant for several years and she has been actively involved with all aspects of Residence Life and a major contributor and leader of several of our clubs and organizations - a special person who will be part of my "family" forever, much like Tully and Alex.

The other picture on the top is of me with my friends Max and Linda Ciampoli who are the authors of Churchill's Secret Agent. They live in Reno, NV and along with my friends Davis/Ann Clark, Jim and Sue Wall (my sister and brother-in-law) and my niece Maggie we met up in New York City's Central Park this past Saturday. Max and Linda were in NYC to present to the Jewish Book Council on their book. Max was a spy for Winston Churchill during WW II and he is responsible for saving the lives of thousands of Jews from certain death at the hands of the Nazis. Max, a Catholic, was doing all of these things when he was just 17,18 and 19 years old and I used their book and Max's exploits to challenge MY students to answer the question: "what would YOU do if this country, like Max's France, was ever to be invaded?" - now there is no answer to that question but it certainly made for fascinating discussions in my Men & Masculinities class. I suggested that they might want to read the book and write a reaction which I then sent to Max and Linda - it is so important to Max (now 88 years old) to hear what young people think about what happened back then AND that they NOT forget that we all need to be aware of what is going on in our world. Being in NYC with good friends and my family was an amazing end of our academic year. More of my students, even though they have graduated, are reading this book and have spoken with me about how amazed they are at the things that Max had to do in order to save the lives of so many.

Several former students are going to be in town this weekend and Burlington hosts their marathon along Lake Champlain and I have heard from several who will be here and who want to get together - IF it stops raining, it should be a great weekend. Next Monday is also Memorial Day and so once again, I ask that we all remember the members of our military and our veterans and their families in our thoughts and prayers. Memorial Day should be every day..... We owe them all so much.

Take care and be well, and also please keep those students and staff from SMC who are doing service trips to Rawanda, India and the Dominican Republic in your thoughts and prayers too.


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