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Editor-in-Chief Justin Felisko Says Farewell

Justin Felisko


Four years ago, I was an athlete. I was never the best football player for St. Joseph High School in Trumbull, Conn., and I certainly was not getting any recruiting phone calls. So when Springfield College Associate Professor of Communications Marty Dobrow called me during the fall of my senior year to recruit me for academics, well, the inner-athlete in me could not help but feel pretty excited.

Dobrow made his best John Calipari impression…OK, scratch that. There were no Humanities Department recruiting violations committed. But the wise journalism sage did his best to convince me Springfield College would be the best for my future. He certainly pulled out all the stops necessary, especially after my first visit did not have me sold on SC and its Communications/Sports Journalism program.

I wanted to go big time. I wanted to go to Syracuse and was weighing Ohio State as an option, not necessarily similar to the setting of 263 Alden Street. Financial aid didn’t work out at Syracuse, and I was left between Springfield and Ohio State.

Dobrow called again, and this time he told me to come up for another visit and that he would prove to me that SC should be my choice destination. It was then that I met his Anthony Davis of the Communications/Sports Journalism program, Nick Carboni.

After recruiting visit round two, I punched my ticket to SC and signed my letter of intent…or in other words, I decided to come to SC.

I then knew what my goal was going to be. Out of complete respect for Carboni and the rest of our program’s stellar alums, I wanted to finish my four years at SC as one of the best and help raise this program to a new level.

We had no website. We had no video component. We had no online radio station. We had a flimsy eight-page newspaper with great writing and this pretty cool magazine called the Pride Sports Journal, but that was about it. Oh yeah, and a one-room office up four flights of stairs in the old Judd Gymnasium.

Some people would call me crazy from wanting to go to Syracuse and ending up at Springfield College.

Yet sometimes the best scenarios are the ones that present you with the largest opportunity to make an impact. Why else did Drew Brees go to New Orleans?

I got started right away with The Springfield Student Vol. 123, Issue No. 1 and have never looked back.

I take pride, no pun intended, in the endless words and pages I have typed over my four-year Student career. The Jimmy Lisowski feature my freshman year, the Stephen Graham feature my sophomore year, developing a great relationship with football coach Mike Delong and his players as the team’s beat reporter for three years and many more will always remain close to my heart.

I am completely thankful to all of you who ever gave me the honor of writing and telling your story. A journalist is nothing without a story, and you are the ones who create those stories. We just try our best to capture them. I am so humbled by being trusted with your stories.

And yes, sometimes I caused some headaches about those stories no college wants to ever see on the front pages of their student newspapers. Yet, as journalists, we have an obligation to cover the good and the bad, and I know The Student tried to execute that journalistic rule to the best of its abilities.

However, those headaches helped create change and journalists will always have that opportunity.

During the June 1 tornado, I had no idea the impact a couple of photos and videos would have on this campus community. At first glance, I’m sure the last thing the school wanted was a student journalist becoming the point-person with alumni about the damage caused by the destructive tornado.

Yet, by week’s end, The Student’s Facebook page reached over 270,000 page views with its respectful coverage. Many of those views were on videos capturing the true Humanics’ spirit of students leading a student-led recovery effort in both the community and on campus.

This helped give us the energy to create scstudentmedia.com. In October, for the first time in our college’s history, The Student was able to reach an online audience with the creation of SCstudentmedia.com.

One of my main goals by the end of my freshman year was to make sure that by the time I stepped foot at graduation, we had an online website to showcase the great work being done by our students. And not just COSJ students, but the students who were being written about in The Student.

With over 500 stories posted and close to 25,000 views at SCstudentmedia.com this year, we have taken a great step forward. There is plenty more that needs to be done to improve the site, but I am thankful for all of the hard work the staff has put in this year for even getting a website off the ground and running.

This is just the beginning for SCstudentmedia.com and it will continue to grow over the next few years under the great leadership that will steer The Student, which has grown from an eight-page newspaper produced on one computer in Judd to a 16-page paper created in our new office with four computers underneath the radio station.

I am so proud and excited for the future of online journalism at Springfield College.

Do I sometimes wonder what could have been if I did go to a Division I school with a well-known journalism program? Of course I do, especially now as I struggle with trying to find a post-graduate internship or job with a major newspaper or professional sports team.

Yet, I do believe the work ethic I developed at Springfield College rivals that of any Division I college or university, and there is certainly Division I talent being produced in our program. We just have to work that much harder to get noticed.

I truly believe a legacy is never self-defined; instead, a legacy is something that is the effect of one’s actions. Who have you impacted? What have you done for the betterment of your campus? What have you done for others? What have you left behind?

Answers those questions, and you have yourself a legacy.

Therefore, I could not say goodbye without saying thank you to Marty Dobrow, and thank you is an understatement of how appreciative I am for all that you have done for and taught me. And thank you to all of the Humanities Department professors who have blessed me with their knowledge and wisdom.

However, no farewell would be complete without recognizing my other passions on campus that truly created the well-rounded individual that I am today as I take this next step forward in the ever-changing game of life.

I arrived on campus as a one-minded sports journalist who wanted to win intramural after intramural championships. Sadly, I never was able to wear a victory shirt across my chest.

Yet Pre-Camp planted the seed of “leadership” into my innocent freshman mind and the Leadership Training Conference watered that seed and changed my life forever.

Being a Pre-Camp leader and LTC facilitator for three years helped me leave an impact on so many people, and I will forever cherish the workshops, activities and people I met or led along the way.

I have played my cards, I defined my perception and I have lived my passions to the fullest.

I am now ready to embark on my next journey.

Justin Felisko may be reached at jfelisko@springfieldcollege.edu

1 comment

  1. Enjoyed your farewell letter …. you will keep these memories of your college years always.
    Good Job. A little sad but so many new adventures are waiting for you. luv xxx

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