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From the Editor

Bridget Depew
The Montgazette Editor-In-Chief

I didn’t go to college immediately after high school. I was fortunate enough to find a good-paying job not long after graduation, and I never really saw the need to pursue higher education. Besides that, my true passion, writing and journalism, was always squelched as I was growing up. My father strongly encouraged me to seek the career that would yield the high-paying salary. Journalism was not it as far as he was concerned. He would hear nothing of how much I loved to write. I abandoned my passion and honestly had forgotten about it.
Twenty years, a husband and two kids later, I found myself writing things on social media or my blog that contained certain points of view that resonated with the readers. Friends approached me and suggested I pursue a career as a writer. They said I had a way with words that made people take pause and engage. I hadn’t focused any thoughts towards a career, much less a writing career. Being a stay-at-home mom, I had become content and comfortable.
That said, I couldn’t ignore how writing made me feel. I decided to enroll at Montco to pursue a degree in Communications. What happened? What was the difference between now and twenty years ago? Well, besides life experience and a few gray hairs, it was someone’s belief in me. People believed in me! My husband. My family. My friends. People breathed life into my passion, and the fire that I thought had gone out was hanging on by one little ember. And, that ember was ignited.
After realizing how much I enjoyed even writing essays for classes and being bit by the journalism bug in Montco’s online professor, Dr. Rebecca McGovney–Ingram’s class, my passion took off. When I enrolled, I had planned to be more of a Montco wallflower – attend classes and go home. Before I knew it, I had become the Social Media Editor and contributing writer for The Montgazette. And now, I will be taking over as Editor-In-Chief this coming Fall. I’m doing a lot more than showing up for classes and going home. As daunting as the task may be, I’m engaging so that I can engage others.
So first, allow me to put on my mom hat for a minute and speak to the younger crowd: you have something to offer. Don’t be afraid to explore your dreams, and don’t let anyone deter you if you truly believe in your passion. As a grown adult with a mortgage and a family to help support, I won’t tell you that the money isn’t important. It’s simply that life is too short to live only for the almighty dollar.
To my fellow Gen Xers, I know why you’re here, and I know your struggle. You’re working moms and dads with bills to pay and children to raise, but you need more and want more. Moms, in particular, have a way of fading into the background. And though the family/school/work juggling act is a tough one, it’s worth it to be recognized for our accomplishments and achievements.
To those of you graduating this May, well done! As you embark on the next journey, maybe take a little time to breathe life onto someone else’s ember, igniting their passion.

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Sara Wilkerson
The Montgazette Outgoing Editor-In-Chief

On April 4th, 1968, the world said farewell to one of the most outspoken and courageous civil rights leaders of the 20th century, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. King’s legacy of standing up for justice and equality is still in good standing today to inspire the generations who have followed his example. His legacy could be no more evident than in the 50th anniversary commemoration event sponsored by the African American Student League at Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) on April 4th.
The commemoration featured presentations of speeches, poetry and songs from young students from Various schools in the county.
Elizabeth Smith, a sixth grader from Reiffton Middle School, expressed Dr. King’s decision to speak his mind by saying, “He chose not to listen to the people who stood in his way and told him what he could and couldn’t do. That was his choice… If he hadn’t chosen to do all of the wonderful things that he had done, we wouldn’t be standing here right here, right now today. He was known for his decisions that made such an impact on our civilization.”
Following Smith’s speech, Abigail Brand, a home schooled seventh grader, spoke about how Dr. King’s actions impacted future leaders. “He didn’t sit back and say ‘Change happens. Someday people will be equal.’ Instead, he forced movement toward equality. It’s because of people like him [Dr. King] that change happens. Barack Obama didn’t just become president; many, many people, including Dr. King himself, helped him get there.”
The student speeches were not the only highlight of the commemoration. Toward the end of the event, an open mic forum was made available to the audience to express their own thoughts on the impact and legacy of Dr. King.
Ninety-three year old Evelyn Warner, MCCC Class of 2002 graduate, said that Dr. King understood that racism doesn’t define human beings, rather that everyone is equal, “There is nothing new under the sun.”
When asked of her opinion about what her favorite moments were during the commemoration, Brigette Barrow, President of the MCCC African American Student League, said that the open mic was among her favorite moments since she, “loved hearing the wisdom that everyone offered.”
Ezinne Ottih, the incoming MCCC Student Government Association President next fall, reflected on the event by stating, “I loved how they [the African American Student League] started testimonials off first with the youngest children because it made me realize that MLK and his message is still trickling down to the younger generations that he never got to meet, which makes me really happy.”
The legacy and impact Dr. King left on society is still felt even today. At the end of her speech, Elizabeth Smith said it best: “People who were alive during his time remember him now. Future generations will learn about him too. And even kids who are growing up now fifty years after he died, will learn about him.”

 

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Elizabeth Smith from Reiffton Middle School on stage at the 50th Anniversary Commemoration ~Photo by Bill Lottmen

Lottmen_Abigail Brand MLK

Abigail Brand giving her speech “Shaping Our Future” ~Photo by Bill Lottmen

 

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Barry M. Hunsberger
The Montgazette Contributor

Eight Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) students and one faculty member travelled to Harrisburg for the 47th annual Phi Beta Lambda (PBL) state conference on April 6th and 7th. Thomas Meehan (SGA president, PBL president), Mike Antoine, Jimmy Sovocool, James Lowery, Nicoletta Pelchat, Nate Balog, Barry Hunsberger, Mike Howard, and Professor Damon Gray (faculty advisor) were in attendance as MCCC Phi Beta Lambda representatives.
PBL is an organization of future and current business professionals at the college level. PBL is an organization that stems from the high school oriented organization, Future Business Leaders of America. PBL sets up its members for success in the business world through workshops, networking, community service and more. The business organization was founded in 1942 and continues to serve its 200,000+ members worldwide.
Over the weekend, the students were competing against 25 PA state chapters and 300+ students from schools such as Drexel, Penn State, Temple, and Bloomsburg, among others. Throughout the weekend they attended a keynote address and participated in various professional development workshops from nationally recognized speakers and networked with students and faculty from collegiate institutions from across the nation. At the close of the weekend during the awards ceremony, our students represented MCCC very well, taking home six awards:
James Lowery – First place in Management Concepts
Barry Hunsberger – First place in Impromptu Speaking
Nicoletta Pelchat – First place in Emerging Business Concepts and Third place in Small Business Management Plans
Jimmy Sovocool – Second place in Organizational Behavior and Leadership
Mike Antoine – Third place in Business Decision Making
Our very own MCCC Phi Beta Lambda chapter president (Thomas Meehan) was elected to the 2018/2019 FBLA – PBL PA state Presidency.
As a team, we are thrilled to have been able to represent Montgomery County Community College on such a high level of competition against so many prestigious universities from Pennsylvania. The wins from the state competition have solidified our students’ place to compete at the MCCC national competition during June 2018 in Baltimore, MD.
Montgomery County Community College will be competing against the best in the United States because we earned the right to be on that stage.
Thank you for your continued support as we move forward, showing the world we are a serious institution that produces amazing students and future leaders.
If you are interested in learning more about Phi Beta Lambda, or attending a meeting, contact the organization at montcopbl@gmail.com.

 

Hunsberger-PBLphoto

PBL Members (left to right) Jimmy Sovocool, Mike Antoine, Mike Howard, James Lowery, Nate Balog, Thomas Meehan, Nicoletta Pelchat, Damon Gray, Barry Hunsberger ~Photo Courtesy of Barry Hunsberger

 

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Justin Patrick Oakes
The Montgazette Staff

This is my last of many articles as a writer for the Montgazette, and what a bittersweet moment it is. On one hand, I’m excited to move on to another school and other mediums of communication. On the other hand, it’s hard to leave the place where my career as a journalist really started. It was here that I found my voice and realized how much I enjoyed talking about pressing issues and speaking critically and frankly about our nation’s leaders. Now, that isn’t to say I haven’t gotten my fair share of critique. People have been mad at me, hated me, yelled at me, attempted to silence me, and much more. But, that’s okay. I’m a journalist. What else would I expect?
The world, specifically social media, is saturated with content about “fake news,” slandering the good names of hardworking journalists all over the world who are risking it all just to bring you the news. It’s a thankless job, one that far too many take for granted, and one that is constantly under scrutiny.
So, why do it? Why put myself in a position where I’ll be under constant scrutiny?
Well, I’m not a journalist in spite of all of that; I’m doing it because of all of that. I’m a journalist because, at the end of the day, people will need to know what’s going on in the world. Whether or not they choose to believe what I’m telling them is up to them, but I still find it important that it’s heard. At the end of the day,history is only remembered by those who observed, took note, and told said history, passing it down for the generations to come. At the end of the day, people need to be aware of the dangers in the world, both foreign and domestic, and the only way to be aware is to have someone out there that’s telling them about the dangers. That someone is me.
I tend to talk politically a lot, both in my articles and in everyday life; it’s hard to not get sucked in, especially as a journalist. I pay attention, I get the facts, I report them, and, more often than not, I give my take on the issue. People have told me that they love my advocacy, that I’m their main source of news. I don’t say this to brag about myself. I say it because I feel that, as a journalist, what I’m doing is so much bigger than me.
What I do is report on issues that impact marginalized communities. What I do is report on people who have had their voices stripped away. What I do is report on the forgotten people, both at home and overseas. What I do is tell the stories that matter, at least, that’s what I try to do. I don’t do it for any paycheck (reporters aren’t making that much nowadays anyway). I don’t do it for fame (quite frankly I hate the spotlight). I do it because even in the face of certain danger, I realize that what I’m doing is bigger than myself. So, when people ask, “why be a journalist,” the simplest reply is, “why not?”

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Photo by Justin Patrick Oakes

Schick_Why Journalism

Photo by Leah Schick

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Choosing a Life

by Sara Wilkerson

What I see are two directions:
the Right way and the Left way.
The Right way leads to a good life
and …
the Left way leads to a bad life.
So, I’m supposed to go the Right way, right?
Or, am I supposed to go the Left way?
Which way of life do I go to?
Clearly, choosing a way of life is hard. So, choose wisely.

 

McLaughlin_Choosing a Life

Illustrated by Emily McLaughlin

 

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Eternal Beauty

by Sara Wilkerson
Inspired by William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18

What do I, your great friend, have to offer
In the brightest of these beautiful days
Where the flowers of May grow and prosper
And when cherry trees are up for displays?
I think that this was the start of our love.
The sun was out, bees were buzzing about.
We sat for that picnic and saw a dove.
You swore that this was the greatest hangout.
Yet as we grew old, you began to pale
My love’s beauty and youth is vanquished now
What happened to you my dear, did you fail?
Never in my eyes, only He shall know,
That a lover’s red poppy outmatches
The Grim Reaper’s need of lousy latches

 

McLaughlin_Eternal Beauty

Illustrated by Emily McLaughlin

 

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Ceaseless

by Justin Patrick Oakes

Together we were ceaseless
Like an ocean cutting freighter
Bound to an inexorable
Destruction.
She, the slayer,
I, the monster,
We’d stand breathless
Like phantoms
In an anaerobic graveyard.
We’d click each other’s heels
Like some lovey dovey
Russian roulette
And wait for a train
Going two ways to
Nowhere.
We were lovers,
Don’t you see,
But even lovers
Die alone,
While the timeless
Tale of romance
And dead old people
Remains ceaseless
As the moon
And stars.

 

McLaughlin_Ceaseless

Illustrated by Emily McLaughlin

 

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