FROM THE POUCH
Volume 1, Issue 13 – February 9, 2015
It’s Flu and Cold Season
With all the cold weather we’ve been having lately, it has become cold and flu season too. I caught a mild cold on Monday and I was pretty much rid of it on Wednesday. My wife Jill and son Mark picked up a more severe version of it on Wednesday, and are only coming out of it now. It seems everyone at the College and in town has gotten it or currently has it. If you haven’t yet, be sure to wash your hands frequently with hot water and soap, so that you don’t pick it up.
It’s been cold and unusually snowy lately. Last Monday, we were only supposed to get 3-4 inches of snow, but it turned out to be 6-7 inches, and with the wind, there were drifts of 1-2 feet in places. Things were calm on Tuesday and Wednesday, but when I woke up on Thursday, there were an unexpected additional 5-6 inches on the ground, and my windshield wipers were totally frozen to the car. I had to take off my gloves to warm the wipers enough to pry them loose. Later that day, it was sunny enough to melt some of the snow from the roof, which ran down the windshield, froze, and formed two thick icicles! I had to let the car run for a while until they softened up enough to use the scraper to take off!
I was at the SUNY-Canton vs. Saint Lawrence University men’s basketball game last Wednesday, and despite the final result, it was a pretty good game. We started off well and held the lead for the first ten minutes or so, with some pretty fancy dunks and good play. Unfortunately, things went downhill from there, with our players getting ice-cold from the field, and Saint Lawrence taking a sizeable lead at points—more than 20 points. We pulled it together midway in the second period, and started sinking a succession of 3-pointers, enough so that with about 5 minutes to go, SLU’s lead was down to 10 points. They knew with perfect certainty that if they just kept playing a “normal” game, they’d lose for sure. So, they changed tactics and essentially just held the ball from them on as close to midcourt as they could manage, even if they had a player totally open under the basket. All we could do is foul them and let them take their free throws, and we’d then race down and score again. We wound up the same 10 points down at the end, but it was still a great game.
On Friday, I went to the SUNY-Canton vs. Cortland men’s hockey game. The arena was packed, because it was also “Free Hoodie Day” for the first 500 people there, and everything at the concession stand was only $1. Canton scored first, but Cortland tied it up only 30 seconds later. Cortland took the lead 2-1 to end the first period. As the second period began we scored first again, tying it up 2-2, but Cortland responded a few minutes later, and then scored again making it 4-2 at the end of the second period.
The ‘Roos came roaring back in the third period, where five minutes in, we scored two goals within a minute, tying it up again at 4-4. Cortland scored again at the 9:30 mark, but with five minutes to go, Canton’s Thomas Crabtree scored his first collegiate goal, tying the game in regular play at 5-5. Everyone was going crazy as we went into sudden death overtime, but unfortunately, Cortland shot at goal only 8 seconds into the period, and while our goalie Louie Puig was able to turn it aside, it ricocheted of a defender and went in, so we lost a heartbreaker.
Pierre Speaks at FYEP—Students Listen
Lots of our first-year students at SUNY-Canton are participating in the First Year Experience Program (FYEP), which focuses on how to make a successful beginning in your studies. Johanna Lee, one of the FYEP section teachers, invited Pierre Nzuah to come in and tell about his own experiences at Canton.
Pierre is a student from the Cameroons in West Africa, where life is considerably different than in the US. He is part of a large (but very poor) family, living in a mud-brick house in a small village there. I’ve heard him speak before—how he had to live on his own (subsisting on just a dollar a day) while going to high school on the other side of the country, how he came to the US and when he first came to Canton, didn’t have a coat because he hadn’t heard about our winters, and how he’s had to work, scrimp, save, and get help from others to be able to afford to keep going to college. Along the way, he has participated in everything on campus, made friends with essentially everyone—the whole campus and town all know him! It’s a remarkable story of determination, perseverance, and ultimately, success, because Pierre will be graduating this year, and I’ll be proud and humbled to shake his hand as he does so. The most recent time I saw Pierre was at the hockey game on Friday, where he was sporting a very thick white fur hat and looking every bit the North Country regular.
I’ve had a chance to see essays that some of the FYEP students wrote about Pierre’s talk, and they were remarkable too. Many of the students commented on how they thought their lives had been hard until they heard about Pierre’s far more challenging path. They realized that they were lucky to have gotten the opportunity to get an education, and were now more determined to take advantage of that opportunity, and not let the small things stop them. Those are pretty important insights, that we’d all do well to remember.
I was in Florida two weeks ago, doing alumni visits. It’s a tough job, but I sacrificed myself to do it! I flew down to Orlando and met up with Peggy Sue Lovato, driving to The Villages and then south of Tampa. The weather was reasonably nice the whole time—in the 50’s and 60’s. One morning, as I was headed out from the hotel, the clerk said: “Be careful out there—it’s really cold”. Of course, it was actually 50°, which is cold for there.
I drove down to Syracuse on Sunday afternoon and caught the 7:35 PM flight on Jet Blue to Orlando. The flight landed at 9:45 and the ever-efficient Peggy Sue was there to pick me up and drive me to the first hotel, located at Orlando’s Airport. She had arranged for a few snacks to be available in my room in case I was hungry, but I mostly just wanted to get to sleep.
The next morning, we drove up to a place called The Villages, somewhat near Ocala. I’d never heard of it before, but there are now around 100,000 people who live there, most of whom seem to be retirees. There are three villages currently built (and a fourth one going up as we speak) with a nice town square in the middle of each one. The town square has a couple of streets of stores (mostly restaurants and boutiques, as well as doctors offices with practices focused around the elderly) and a nice park in the middle, where they play concerts every night.
Each village has lots of events for its residents, but you have to live there and pay a fee to participate. A lot of folks who live there get around on golf carts instead of cars. One problem is that some of the golf cart drivers seem to think they’re Mario Andretti, and forget just how flimsy a golf cart can be if there’s a crash.
My first alumni visit was with John and Rosella (Todd) Valentine. We were meeting at Ricciardi’s Italian Table restaurant, but we ran into a small problem—the street it was on wasn’t on the iPhone map—it was too new! Peggy Sue knew about where it was and by the time we got there, I had called up the Google Maps app on my phone, which apparently had been updated more recently, so we were able to find it without any real problem. The waiter mentioned that the restaurant was celebrating its one-year anniversary and gave each of us a little gift bag. When Peggy Sue said “happy anniversary”, the waiter said “For saying that, you win a glass of champagne each, and 10% off your dinner”. Nice touch!
John and Rosella Valentine are really delightful people and I very much enjoyed talking to them. Rosella graduated from SUNY Canton in the class of 1968 with a degree in Business Administration. She enjoyed a 31-year teaching career, and was New York State’s first Teacher Ambassador for Occupational Education. She has served on our Canton College Foundation, and is a former president of our Alumni Association. She received Heuvelton Central School’s first Alumni Hall of Fame designation, and was a board member at the Remington Museum of Art. Currently, she is active in the Lake County (Florida) League of Women Voters. Her husband John taught music for many years, and we had a nice conversation about favorite operas.
The next morning, we had breakfast at Denny’s with John and Lorraine Henderson. John graduated from ATI (as we were then known) in the class of 1952, with a degree in Drafting. He was responsible for an addition to the science building, expansion of athletic facilities, and the creation of a facilities master plan at Jefferson Community College, where he worked for many years. He’s a strong supporter of the college, and told me about a number of pleasant memories he had of the time he was here.
That afternoon, there was a gathering for alumni who live in The Villages, with about 30 people in attendance. It was nice meeting with many alumni I’d never met before (as well as the Valentines once again), and we all had a good time. I gave a short talk about some of the new degree programs we’re planning at SUNY Canton, and the alumni were happy about the directions we are pursuing. As has happened so often before, I got to hear stories about how SUNY Canton had made all the difference in setting up their careers.
On Wednesday, we drove down to Sarasota, checked into the hotel, and then drove to Cape Coral to meet Bob and Margaret Rogers for lunch. Bob graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering Technology in 1960 and was a member of one of the most successful basketball teams in Canton’s history, helping lead the Northmen (as we were then known) to a 34-6 overall record in his two years. He went on to play Division 1 basketball at New Mexico State, and went on to work in the elevator industry for 41 years. He recently made a generous scholarship gift to the college honoring Hall of Fame Coach Stanley Cohen that will provide future students the opportunity to achieve their educational goals.
That evening, I wanted to try and find an Indian restaurant, and fortunately, there was one at the next shopping center over. We decided to walk there, because it wasn’t very far, but as it turned out, the sidewalk didn’t go the whole way (making us walk on the shoulder of a busy highway), and there was a fence that needed to be climbed over to get to the road without having to backtrack quite a ways. Still, we persevered, and the restaurant was quite good.
Thursday for lunch, we met with Bernie Regan at Gecko’s, a south-west themed restaurant. Bernie graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering Technology in 1965, and went on to serve in the US Army. He then worked for UPS in their corporate domestic and international engineering groups. He established the Bernard C. Regan Family Endowed Scholarship, and built the Regan Flag Station at the front entrance to our campus. He is on SUNY Canton’s \ College Foundation Board of Directors, and serves on the executive committee. Among other things, we talked about how to get more people to consider making unrestricted gifts to the college—most people want to restrict them in one way or another, making them less flexible in what they can be used for. We also talked about that afternoon’s gathering in Sarasota, at a different Gecko’s. About a dozen alumni and supporters came to the gathering, which again was very pleasant.
That night, we drove back to Orlando and stayed at the airport Hyatt Regency (quite a place—you can take the elevator to the 3rd floor, which is where the gates to the airlines are). I was able to change onto an earlier flight going to NYC at 9:40, and change there for Syracuse. I got to Syracuse about 1:00, got the car, and was back in Canton by 4:00.
Last Week’s Trivia Contest
Last week’s trivia contest had to do with the word “last”. Our winner was Tammie Winkler, who wins a gift card. Just come up to the office at Room 616 in the FOB to get your prize, Tammie. Others getting all the answers right incldued Justin Stancevic-Bedosky, Zeuxi A. De La Cruz, Skylar Miller, Charles Romano, Gregory Dobies, and Jason Matice.
- If you wait until then to book it, you probably won’t get the flight you want. The LAST minute.
- You write it so that people know what to do when you pass away. Your LAST Will and Testament.
- Madonna, Bono, Ludacris, and Cher don’t have one, but you probably do. A LAST name.
- This song by ZZ Ward’s chorus begins with: No more white picket fences,
No more lace veils or vows, No more “You’re the only one” ‘cause that’s all done with now. LAST Love Song.
This Week’s Trivia Challenge
This Trivia Challenge has every answer containing the word first. The first reply with the most answers right takes the prize. No looking up the answers now! SEND ALL ENTRIES BY EMAIL TO firstname.lastname@example.org since if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them!
- In football, you get this when you gain 10 yards.
- This kind of kit usually contains bandages, antiseptic, antibiotics, antihystamines, etc.
- This year’s will come on March 20.
- “Dr. No”, starring Sean Connery. There have been more than 20 others so far.