My View from South Hill
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Every year at this time I think of that line spoken by Gene Wilder as Dr. Frankenstein in the Mel Brooks movie Young Frankenstein. The Ithaca College campus, like the creature stitched together by Dr. Frankenstein, miraculously comes alive in the middle of August. The first twitches occur when the fall season athletes and the RAs arrive on campus, and then the whole body comes to life when students arrive with their families to take up residence on move-in day. Fortunately our annual experiment ends better than Dr. Frankenstein’s creation! The IC campus will soon be the place that each new and returning student calls home.
I can only imagine the anticipation each student is feeling as they pack their suitcases with their final items and spend the last nights of summer with high school friends, each of them contemplating what is to come in their next chapter. The question that looms over most students as they enter college is, “who am I going to meet and who will my friends be?”
Each entering class has special traits that increase our anticipation of their years on campus. When I think of the Class of 2018, the association that comes to mind is that they are pretty “fancy.” (Yes, I do know the Iggy Azalea song.)
The Class of 2018 brings to campus a diverse group of students who, I know, will come together for a common purpose – to enhance their education and foster the development of their intellect, creativity and character. The members of this class will form lasting friendships among themselves. Who will these friends be?
The Class of 2018 includes Michael Stern, an Ithaca native and future music education and trumpet performance major, who challenged tradition by composing a new (and now official) alma mater for his high school. Morgan Atkins of Stillwater, Oklahoma, is another musically talented member of the Class of 2014. Morgan was a member of the Oklahoma State University Winter Drum Line and has performed in front of over 13,000 people. A future Psychology major, Holly Perkins took the arts to a new level when she taught ballet to children at a Tanzanian orphanage. Kevin Zeosky, an Integrated Marketing Communications major, built his own guitar and music studio. Halle George of Natick, Massachusetts, has already written three novels!
Members of the Class of 2018 have done an amazing amount of international travel and service. Ryan Opelia of Scottsdale, Arizona, comes to Ithaca College with two passport stamps from his immersion trips to Mexico and Guatemala. Charlotte Roberson took a gap year to volunteer in multiple countries with the Thinking Beyond Borders program. Architectual studies major Noah Elkahateeb traveled to Namibia to study the plight of the cheetah. Erika Olsen completed a Russian Exchange program and was a gold medalist in the Olympiad of Spoken Russian sponsored by the American Council of Teachers of Russian for New York State. Other students have built schools in rural villages.
Toren Aronoff, a TV-R major from New Jersey, combined his desire to expand his education and his passion for helping others in Israel. He studied Hebrew and Judaic subjects while finding the time to complete intensive medical training classes to become an EMT. Other first responders in the Class of 2018 include Nicholas Palatella, a firefighter, and Kelsey Mazellan, an EMT, both from New Jersey. Kelsey is also a certified ropes instructor! Business major Rifton Westby is President of the Junior Ambulance Corps in Tuxedo Park, NY. Communication Management and Design major, Samantha Kirsch, was the second youngest participant at Phoenix Firecamp, a camp for teenage girls interested in firefighting.
Students in the Class of 2018 have created organizations including Girl Up, Wounded Warriors Program, Sisters, and Girlgov. Members of our entering class have initiated fundraisers for a myriad of causes including epilepsy, drunk driving, cancer, homelessness and world hunger.
Christopher Biehn, a journalism major from New Jersey who is destined to receive a lot of email from our unrelated vice president of the same name, received an honorable mention student Emmy from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Rebecca Simon won the “Angels Among Us” award for outstanding community service. The Class of 2018 includes students who have attended the Presidential Inaugural Leadership Summit as well as delegates to the South Asia Youth summit.
The Class of 2018 even has semi and professional athletes. Occupational therapy major Megan Rushby is a 2012 Empire State Games gold medalist in figure skating. Clinical health Studies major Kristyn Alonzo was one of the youngest players on the Phillipines Women’s National Soccer team. Integrated Marketing and Communications major Donald Hodgkinson placed 7th in the World Yo-Yo contest.
The Class of 2018 is indeed a “fancy” group of leaders and intellectuals, artists and humanitarians, all who come to us as accomplished individuals. Each of them comes to campus with hopes, dreams and goals, and each will take steps toward these and even grander dreams while they are IC students.
When he was younger Kyle Stewart, a Documentary Studies major, wanted to be a puppeteer for Kermit the Frog. Surrounded by talent and commitment, I believe Kyle can reach that goal if he wants. He can bring Kermit to life in exactly the way the Class of 2018 is bringing the IC campus to life!