Op-Eds Opinion

Greg Fitzpatrick says farewell to the Springfield Student newspaper

Greg Fitzpatrick
Online Editor

greg fitz mug
Photo courtesy of Drew Broffman.

It’s not a rarity for my parents to remind me of the constant hobby that I developed at the age of 6 years old. I think it’s safe to say that my neighbors may have been shocked if they didn’t see me running down the driveway by 8 a.m. every Sunday morning.

The sprint down to the mailbox was in complete exhilaration and for a purpose: a passion. I would furiously go through the Springfield Republican newspaper and solely grab the sports section. Any other section was completely neglected. I read the sports section religiously, whether it was last night’s Red Sox game or just the pictures, my face was glued to the paper. No conversation from my parents, batch of pancakes, or television show was going to pry me away from my future passion.

So, that’s where it all started. When I entered into a journalism class my junior year at East Longmeadow High School, I thought back to the days of when I was 6 years old racing down to the driveway to grab the sports section. Thinking about it, I knew it sounded crazy, but I just had this feeling that it absolutely happened for a reason.

Gaining some experience from writing for my high school paper, The Spartan Spectator, I knew that I wanted to major in communications/sports journalism at Springfield College. I was aware of what I wanted to do in college, something that I should be extremely grateful for. Not every college student is sure of what they want to pursue their freshman year of college.

While I was aware that I wanted to become a journalist, I don’t think I was aware of what I was getting myself into. I decided to join our school newspaper, The Springfield Student. I’ve always been a pretty social kid and willing to meet new people, but walking down those stairs to the newspaper office couldn’t have been more overwhelming for me.

Seeing the editors and all the upperclassmen, I was intimidated right away and became uncertain as to if I made the right choice. They were all extremely nice and couldn’t have been any more welcoming, but I guess it was the fact that I turned into this scared freshman surrounded by upperclassmen.

Meeting all of the editors my freshman year was a great experience and I felt comfortable knowing that they would help me throughout my journey. Every single editor was great, but guys like Jimmy Kelley and Terrence Payne were guys who I really observed throughout my freshman year. I credit them to helping me that year with not only improving my writing but just simply helping me along and showing me how to improve myself as a journalist.

I also want to thank the amazing professors that I have had throughout my four years here. Kyle Belanger, Marty Dobrow, Dennis Gildea, and Jody Santos have all been a tremendous help to me as well as every other professor I have had in classes.

Kyle has been my advisor and it has been quite the pleasure. He has always gone out of his way to help me. Whether it has been in class, helping me get an internship, picking out my courses for the next semester, or simply telling me that Duke basketball won’t win the championship this year, Kyle, you truly have been someone I always turned to and still will. Your great personality and sense of humor has been evident even before I was a freshman on campus. When visiting in high school, I vividly remember how welcoming you were. Your presence made me believe that this was the place for me.

That takes me to the guy that I credit the most to molding me into the writer I am today. As I sat in a Northeastern room last Thursday to hear his acceptance speech for his New England Journalism Educator of the Year award, Marty has done everything in his power to help me succeed. Over the last four years, Marty, you have taught me the most crucial essentials of becoming a successful journalist. I have learned how to go deep into my reporting, creating that descriptive lead, and of course, “seeking the truth and reporting it.” I have observed how hard you work and hope that one day I can work maybe half as hard as that. For everything you’ve done, I thank you.

How could I forget the people that I spend every Wednesday night with? Pat Kenney, Marshall Hastings, Logan Mullen, Shawn McFarland, and Greg Allen, you have all been a pleasure to work with. The newest editors, Vin Gallo and Ali Izzi, you have worked so hard over the last few months. Along with you guys and Shawn and Greg, you are showing what a bright future this newspaper has for years to come.

And to my parents, I can’t thank you enough for everything you’ve done for me. You’ve always told me to never stop working hard and to never give up on your dreams. That dream started going down the driveway to read the sports section, and Springfield College has helped it become a reality. Farewell, Springfield Student.

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