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Rahul Thevar
The Montgazette Staff

A one-on-one interview with Montgomery County Community College English Professor, Monica D’Antonio

Q. What colleges did you go to to get to where you are now?

A. I attended Rutgers University for my undergraduate and graduate degrees in English. I am currently working on my PhD in Educational Psychology at Temple University.

Q. What do you like about being a professor?

A. I LOVE being a professor. There is no job in the world I would rather have. It’s almost impossible for me to describe what it’s like to watch someone learn something new or overcome a fear they had or develop confidence in themselves. It’s truly an honor to be a part of that experience. I also like the connections that develop through teaching. I really like the way my students bond with each other and with me throughout the course of the semester. Many stay in touch after the semester is over, and it’s awesome to watch my students to continue to be successful and develop their lives beyond my class. I’m not a religious person, but I consider teaching to be a calling for me.

Q. My next question to you is since you are poll worker, how do you improve political involvement with college aged (18-25) people?

A. It’s CRUCIAL for young people (18-30) to vote, to get interested and involved in politics, to be informed about domestic and international issues, and to run for office themselves. The tough part about this is that politics seems so stodgy and exclusive. When you look at the members of Congress… they are all fairly old, most of them are white, and most of them are men. Platforms and messaging are two other issues that politicians need to address. Politicians don’t know how to convey the importance of certain issues, like health care and taxes, to younger audiences. When pols do try to reach out, they do not communicate their platforms effectively… Obama was incredibly successful with young voters. He was reasonable, knowledgeable, but also just downright cool… He also had a community organizing background, which meant he knew how to talk and relate to people of all walks of life. Rarely do our politicians have that “ground level” knowledge. Most don’t know how the average person lives. Bottom line: we need cooler, younger, and smarter people – like Obama – get involved in government.

However, the issue isn’t just with politicians. Young voters need to
actually step up and take responsibility for the country they live in and the future they want to see. They can’t just wait for the “adult in the room” to solve their problems. If you’re in America, you need to protect it and transform it to make sure it’s the place that you want to live in. Take the outrage you display on Facebook and Twitter and go out and get involved.

Q. What do you want to say to current Montco students figuring out what they want to do?

A. To MCCC students trying to figure it all out, I say: Take risks and don’t be afraid to fall down. You will fail sometimes. Get over it. Failure is where the learning happens.

 

Betancourt_D'Antonio

MCCC English Professor Monica D’Antonio — Photo by Andrea Betancourt

 

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Lucy Derstine
The Montgazette Staff

I talk to myself sometimes. I lied. I talk to myself a lot. In all honesty, I talk to myself all of the time. I imagine that to some people I probably look a lot like Gollum from Lord of the Rings. I am truly ashamed to admit it, but sometimes, I even pretend I am talking on a Bluetooth when someone looks at me funny.

To illustrate my point, the other day, I slipped as quietly as I possibly could into a class to print a picture for a deadline. I was trying to be very quiet so as not to be distracting because it had been brought to my attention recently by a fellow classmate that I was too loud. He said in a mean voice, “Do you have any idea how loud and distracting you are? People are trying to work.”

The worst part was, I had no idea how loud or distracting I was at all. I asked him to clarify. He did, and well, I cried. My lip actually quivered. It was awful, and I felt so bad, mostly because I felt so crushed that I could not be accepted as myself, loud and talkative.

I did not let it keep me down though! Well, I was going to certainly try! I digress, back to the real tale… I was working quietly and was focused. I patted myself on the back because I am so killing this quiet thing, when out of nowhere, the kid next to me said, “Dude. You could totally be a voice over artist.”

“Huh? What are you talking about?”

The kid said in a genuinely impressed voice, “Do you even realize how many noises come out of you?!? It’s amazing! You should be a voice over artist!”

Confused, I replied, “I thought I was being quiet.”

Voluminous laughter erupted from within his depths. It became contagious and gained momentum from seat to seat from those who I am sure heard this entire conversation. Not entirely defeated, I left the classroom and mulled this over with myself at lunch.

There began my quest. That evening I typed into Google: “Talking to yourself.” It turns out that I am not alone; like many other humans, I just like to yammer to myself! According to Live Science, saying things out loud sparks memory and helps one to recall facts with more accuracy. Inner talking is actually beneficial to one’s health and has a special role in keeping our minds fit, organizing our thoughts, making plans, weighing actions, and regulating our emotions!

So, there you have it. Talking out loud could actually be a sign of high functioning genius, making me a more competent human being rather than one with a debilitating mental illness. Perhaps, just perhaps, the next time you catch someone talking to themselves, you can admire and learn from them rather than cut them down. I feel a lot less like a “mad scientist” and will continue to rely on the power of my very unique brain, albeit a bit more quietly!

 

Derstine_Self Portrait

Lucy Derstine — Self Portrait

 

Justin Oakes
The Montgazette Staff

Stephen King has been hailed as the “Master of Horror” for generations, not simply because he has the ability to make us jump at every little bump in the night, but because his stories bend our minds and make us think about the world around us through the use of the horror genre. His epic novel IT is no exception to this.

IT follows the story of seven friends growing up in the 1950’s in the fictional town of Derry, Maine. They battle bullies, build dams in the creek, and oh, did I mention they have to fight off a demonic clown named Pennywise who eats children? After defeating Pennywise the first time, the children slowly forget about the wild summer and push the horrible reality to the back of their memories. But because Pennywise comes back every 27 years, the children, now grown up, decide that they have to come back to stop the clown once and for all. The story was later adapted into a 1990 miniseries but has again gained prominence in 2017 due to the first in a two-part series of films based on the book.

On the surface, the story seems like just another run of the mill horror story. But at a closer look, we find a delicately intriguing look at childhood, growing up, and taking responsibility in order to save lives. When the grown adults of Derry look back at the time that they had spent fighting Pennywise when they were children, they speak about all of the times in which the adults knew something problematic was going on, but were too afraid to talk about or do anything about it.

Now, more than ever, this message rings true.

This is happening right now. Too many people in the older generations refused to do anything about climate change. They absurdly cut regulations on Wall Street that hurt millions of Americans and crippled our economy, and they failed to truly combat inequality in a system based on oppression. All of these responsibilities have fallen on our shoulders. The adults knew that they couldn’t push problems to the side like the past generations had done. They had to stand up, fight back, and most importantly, change the things in the world that they thought needed to be changed.

When faced with the idea of having to stand up to Pennywise, most of the adults say they’ve gotten too old, and scared, that fighting just wasn’t worth it. But, in the end, they did what was right and proved that one must take a stand in order to create real change. One must have convictions based in moral obligations to society, regardless of how uncomfortable those truths behind said convictions may make one. One must not push problems to the side just because the problems are scary or uncomfortable, but rather act responsibly in order to save lives. Posterity looks to us to be the positive change. The fate of the world is resting on our shoulders. We must follow the words of, yes, Stephen King, if we want to leave a better future for our children.

By Daniel Whitney
The Montgazette Staff

Stepping into the Fine Arts Gallery at Montgomery County Community College’s Central Campus in Blue Bell, I was taken aback at how many people were in attendance at the Gallery’s Fall premier on September 13. After marveling at the works of art and sampling a fine cup of coffee, I met Arlene Reynolds, a Career Services department employee of the College and art gallery owner.

The 81-year-old owner of Creative Arts and Expressions in Philadelphia, Reynolds started her career in New York City. For six years, she singlehandedly covered The New York Times classified section as she worked through college as a journalism major. During this time, she attended countless art premieres, met numerous artists and journalists and met a few people she knew.

After regaling me with tales of her past exploits and adventures in the Big Apple, Arlene switched gears and shared a story that flabbergasted me. Arlene recalled a time when she was visiting her brother at a news casting studio in Chicago. She went through the motions of the basic meet-and-greet with all of the staff and reporters, and decided to slip off to the green room for some water and a moment of peace. She had no sooner sat down to rest her feet, when a very tall man approached her and engaged her.

In her own words, “I was sitting in the green room of this news station, and a very tall African American man approached me and, without any hesitation, began telling me about why blacks and whites should never integrate in schools. I was shocked; I didn’t know what to say. After a few minutes of [his explanation], a crew member approached and tapped [the] very outspoken man on the shoulder and said, “you’re on in 2 [minutes].” The man offered his hand and thanked me for listening, and quickly headed into the recording studio. After a moment of incredulous contemplation, I asked the crew member who the man [I had listened to] was. With a short smirk, the crew member looked at me and said ‘Ma’am, that was Malcolm X.’ So that was the day I met Malcolm X.”

I had heard of old men sharing war stories, but this woman surprised me with each new tale she unraveled for me. If I have learned anything from listening to Arlene, it’s that you should never judge a book by its cover. Beyond that, if someone ever offers to share a story from his or her life, it’s worth listening. Maybe one day you will be the one sharing your stories with a young, eager journalist.

Art Barn Gallery pic 1

Art Barn Gallery pic 2
Photos by Daniel Whitney

Hello, Montgazette readers!

Starting this semester, the publication is launching a new column featuring poems submitted by student poets. This issue we are featuring staff writers Justin Oakes and Jay Galgon. If you’d like to submit poems to Poetic Voices, please email them to via montgazette@gmail.com. Also, if you want to submit your poems elsewhere on campus, check out the Art and Literature Magazine and the Writer’s Club newsletter.

Motivation

By Jay Galgon
Montgazette Contributing Writer

College is hard
We all knew it would be
No one thought it would be a breeze
It’s harder to maintain our grades
Harder to get a good night’s sleep
Harder to find motivation
But that’s what they’ll tell you
“Just find the motivation to do well!”
Yeah, right
How can I do that
When I can’t even find the motivation to
Get out of bed
Talk to people
Or even smile
If I can’t find the motivation
To do even these simple things
How do you expect me
To somehow find the motivation
To “do well”
In a place where your worth
Is your grade

Pick Yourself Up

By Jay Galgon
Montgazette Contributing Writer

None of us are strangers to pain
No one in this world is
There’s always been something, someone
That made our heart ache in our chest
Some pain has been worse than others
Made us scream
Cry out
Fall to our knees
What do you do when the world keeps knocking you down?
You pick yourself up
Because no one is going to do it for you
We learned that the hard way
So every time life knocks your feet out from under you
Sends you to your knees
Pick yourself up
Kick life back
Show it your strength
Yell about how you’ll persevere
Because you will
As long as you pick yourself up
You are the winner