(For the last time) By Vin Gallo
I’d always sit in my grandpa’s living room, since I was 4 years old. He’d tell me story after story about his adventures growing up as the middle son of Italian immigrants in Hartford and his time serving in the Marines. He’s a damn good storyteller. Growing up, I knew I wanted to be like him.
I didn’t start writing anything of note until my sophomore year for my high school newspaper, and ever since I picked it up, I’ve known that storytelling is my identity. It’s always going to be my identity.
Because before I started writing, I felt lost. I felt like I didn’t have a voice. And after I found writing, I just wanted to have a place where I had a team, and where people believed in me. And that was Springfield College.
I want to thank Marty Dobrow, Kyle Belanger and Jody Santos for meeting with me at the beginning. At the start, I didn’t see myself as all that bright, and couldn’t even string five words together without stuttering really badly. They all promised me that they wouldn’t let me down. That meant the world to me, because at the time, I was still a little rattled from one of my high school teachers asking me, a month before I graduated, “Why would you go into communications when you’re not good at communicating?”
Jody, thank you so much for being such a great mentor in my freshman year. Kyle, you were the best advisor I could ever ask for. Advanced Radio was my favorite class I took here — long live the Va Va Voom Podcast. And Marty, I wouldn’t be where I am without you. I’d be up late getting those learning journals in for the next morning. But everything within the courses, from those 300-word assignments to the game stories and profiles, improved my writing week after week.
I want to thank Laura Dubowski and Ray Laferriere for always expressing confidence in my ability in making TV packages and always keeping the door open for me to contribute to SCTV3. It wasn’t much, but I enjoyed making a couple of NFL preview packages during the fall before the workload would pick up.
And I want to thank Dennis Gildea. Coach, you kept it real with me, and I appreciate that. I’m grateful that you gave it to me straight, to NEVER under ANY circumstances go in front of a camera and try to talk, and instead stick to developing my strength. I’m happy to have had you as a mentor and a fan of both my writing and my open-ended questions that would take all morning to finish. I’m just glad I recovered from that D- quiz grade in Press in America.
When I was moving onto campus on my first day, I scrawled out with Sharpie on a ripped piece of paper, “I’m going to be the greatest journalist in Springfield College history.”
That was right before I met my team, The Springfield Student, the same group of students who shared the same passion for journalism as I did. As it turns out, another journalist on campus had declared the same exact thing to his NSO group when he was a freshman. Shawn McFarland. He started as a sports management major, and became our sports editor less than a year later. I want to thank both Shawn and Greg Allen. I knew from the beginning, when I was just a freshman, two weeks into my first semester, that we were going to keep up what the seniors had started. And now look at it. New layout, new design, a rejuvenated social media presence. You two took what the paper had, and made it your own. But most importantly, you inspired the class behind you to keep it up.
I’m so thankful to have grown up as a print journalist in the COSJ program with Gage Nutter, Jill Campbell, and Sam Leventhal.
Gage, you were a perfect choice in taking over the EIC duty for Shawn this year. You’re one of the best writers and reporting minds to ever pass through our major. Journalism is like a second nature for you, and I know you’re going to kill it, wherever the field takes you.
Jill, you were so critical to this paper’s success. You were always one of the lead voices in every conference we’d have, whether that’d be about the issue dropping the next day or next week. You’re a natural leader, and you’re going to bring so much value to wherever you go, in whichever field you choose.
Sam, you’re our MVP, man. Without your knowledge and skills with graphics, our outlet wouldn’t have been able to grow half as much as we have over the past few semesters. You took on a huge lead in laying out PSJ this spring, and always looked for what else we could do to improve it. The result? It’s by far the best PSJ I’ve ever seen us publish.
This newspaper is in great hands with this year’s junior class becoming its leaders in the fall. Three strong and talented women: Gabby Guerard, Helen Lucas, and Daniela Detore.
Remember those names. All three are extremely creative and passionate about their craft. When they’re together, brainstorming about what should go into next week’s issue — they’re all set for the next three by the time the conference is over.
Helen and Daniela, they can do it all. They can write, they can broadcast, they can take photos. They can do it all. And Gabby, her instincts in reporting, writing, and storytelling are just incredible. With this on top of her leadership and poise — she’s going to a great EIC next year.
The sophomores class who will be becoming juniors is insanely talented. Jack Margaros and Danny Priest are going to be going places too. Jack took on the leadership role of sports editor this past fall and managed all of the work from our beat writers himself. And Danny is a layout BEAST. You need a page laid out? He can bang it out in less than an hour. The two juniors for next year have already attacked the field like veteran seniors.
When the papers hit the Union next semester, scroll through the bylines for Joe Arruda and Evan Wheaton as Springfield Student newcomers. His thorough coverage of the men’s volleyball team was just the start for Joe. As for Evan, his appetite for a good story cannot be satisfied. I’ve been reporting on a Maroon Athlete of the Week for three years now, and I’m fully confident in passing that beat down to him. I want to thank both Jon Santer and Brian Magoffin for always taking some time to talk over the current stories in Pride Athletics, and being so accommodating in helping the paper with visuals for our sports section. They will be chatting with Evan, now.
I’m going to miss the Wednesday nights in the office. I’m REALLY going to miss interviewing people outside of the Student Activities office.
When it comes to writing, and when it comes to journalism, I know I can be very hard, and occasionally harsh on myself. When I realized I was a month away from graduating a few weeks ago, the only thing I regret is neglecting to give myself a little credit. I didn’t achieve everything that freshman-me wanted to accomplish, but I’ve finally arrived at the closure of: that’s ok. Because freshman-me was too critical. I didn’t achieve what I wanted to achieve necessarily, but I achieved everything I needed to achieve.
All that matters now, is that I’m writing for myself. I don’t have to prove that I’m good at communicating anymore, because, finally, as far as I’m concerned, I AM good at communicating.
All I’ve ever wanted when I was young was to feel like I was understood. Now, all I want, is to not only tell other people’s stories, but to truly allow the people I talk to, to feel as though they are being heard. That they are being understood. I can do that, now. And I can’t wait to get started.
Thank you, Marty.
Thank you, Kyle.
Thank you, Jody.
Thank you, Coach.
Thank you, Shawn.
Thank you, Greg.
Thank you, Gage.
Thank you, Jill.
Thank you, Sam.
Thank you, Gabby.
Thank you, Helen.
Thank you, Daniela.
Thank you, Jon.
Thank you, Brian.
Thank you, COSJ.
Thank you, Springfield College.
Thank you for helping me find my voice.