Monday, April 30, 2007

Thank you, Poppop

I wear a bracelet on my left wrist.

It’s not expensive or particularly trendy. It’s not even a gift that I remember receiving.

I found it in the bottom of a drawer at home almost exactly a year ago.

That day, I put it on. It’s still there, and I’ll tell you why.


But first I need to be completely honest about what you can expect from this blog entry, my last one as the Collegian’s editor in chief.

I’m not going to analyze the trends of the newspaper industry or take any last jabs at media critics.

This time I’m abusing executive privilege and using this space to say whatever I want.

If I could write two senior columns, this would be one of them.

The other you’ll see in Friday’s paper.


I’m a big fan of shout-outs.

Anyone who was at our spring Collegian formal knows this.

Give me a microphone, and I will erupt into a series of shout-outs. It helps a lot if I’ve had a couple glasses of Chardonnay first.

For lack of a better phrase, this blog/senior column is a list of shout-outs.

If you don’t care, so be it. But I’ve got people to thank and things to say. Best of all, I’ve got unlimited space.


First, I want to thank the Collegian’s readers. You are the reason I do this every day. Sure we’ve got out critics, but most Penn State students, faculty and alumni appreciate the service we provide. I am eternally grateful. Please continue reading.

Thank you to the Atherton Hotel. You’re not cheap, but you’re far and away a better venue for a formal than the Days Inn. Two words: Cash bar.

Thank you to Margaret and Juan at Margarita’s, who have fed me and the rest of the Collegian staff with moderately priced Italian cuisine all year. There is no better cheesesteak this side of Philadelphia than you can find at Margarita’s, 222 W. Beaver Ave. That also goes for the pizza, stromboli, grilled chicken salad and tuna sub, all of which I’ve sampled.

Thank you to Café 210 and Sports Café for being within stumbling distance of the James Building so my fellow Collegianites and I can go right from work to a pitcher of iced tea. My credit card tab says it all.

Thank you to all Penn State professors who see the backward logic of instituting an attendance policy for their classes. Higher education has become more and more about showing up and less and less about learning. Penn State education sans attendance policies, and I’d have a 4.0. Professors who understand I paid for this class and don’t deserve a grade deduction because I chose to catch a few z’s, thank you.

On to the sappy shout-outs:

Thank you to my Friday night poker buddies (Terry, Doran, Travis, Alex, Nate, etc.). You let a girl play – and win, once. I needed a weekend activity that didn’t involve alcohol, and you all kept me sober for longer than I thought possible.

Thank you to Dan Freel. There is no other pain in the ass I would rather have as my photo editor. After more than two years of stress, cigarettes, more stress and more cigarettes, I count you among my friends.

Thank you to Sirage Yassin. You hold me to a higher standard, and sometimes I need that.

Thank you to Sarah Goldfarb and Chris Weeden. I look at the two of you and it reassures me that I have something to look forward to. Your happiness is contagious.

Thank you to Halle Stockton. For two years we were inseperable, and because of that you will always be a part of me.

Thank you to Drew Curley, whose selflessness humbles me. You are the definition of a friend.

Thank you to Terry Casey and Andy Staub. You are two of my best friends, and it doesn’t even bother me that you’re dudes. It seems that guys usually break me down, but you two build me up.

Thank you to Kayur Patel. Time spent with you is time that I’ll never forget. Thanks for always making me laugh.

Thank you to Krystle Kopacz, without whom this year would likely have been disastrous. Any credit I’m given for the success of this year, I pass on to you. Your talent as the Collegian’s managing editor is surpassed only by your compassion as a friend.

Thank you to Lizz Paris, the one and only, true, non-Collegian friend I’ve retained since my time at Penn State. You’re the only roommate I’ve actually enjoyed living with, and the fact that we’ve remained friends is a tribute to you alone. No matter how many times I say we’ll hang out and then cancel because “something came up at the Collegian,” you never get angry. I absolutely adore you.

Thank you to Kathleen Haughney, the best friend the world has ever known. We both know I am not a religious person, but some higher power brought the two of us together almost four years ago. When times are tough (when aren’t they?), you are the first person I look to for support. And you’ve never let me down.

Thank you to John Harvey, the Collegian’s news adviser. Besides guiding me in the right direction and steering me away from mistakes, you were honest with me. You told me when I messed up, and you told me when I did things right. Your office may not be in the newsroom, but you’re as much a part of this News Division as the students. Thanks for the support.

Thank you to my sister, Ally. We don’t talk as much as we should, and that’s my fault. But you’ve always been there for me, and I’m looking forward to spending more time with you again.

Thank you to my parents. It is because of you that I got through this year. You gave me the tools I needed to take on this position, and you provided me with strength when I thought I’d lost it all. My accomplishments belong to you. We all learned this year that I am far from invincible, but you never stopped being proud of me. No one will ever convince me there have been parents greater than you.

Finally, thank you to Grammy and Poppop. It is because of you that the word “family” means anything to me. I am truly grateful for the wisdom you have shared with me. You have taught me the meaning of unconditional love.


Poppop died May 9 of last year.

I saw him one last time in April, soon after I was elected as the Collegian’s next editor in chief.

He was weak, and we knew his time with us would soon come to an end.

But he was proud of me. And that has made all of this worth it.

I was wearing my bracelet when Poppop died.

For whatever reason, I began to associate it with him. For that reason, I couldn’t take it off.

Now, I wear this bracelet on my wrist because it reminds me of him. And that makes it the most valuable piece of jewelry I own.

As long as it stays on my wrist, it’s my ongoing shout-out to Poppop.