With tears in my eyes at the moment of writing this, it’s time to say goodbye to the organization that developed me into the man I am today.
To recap my time at The Montclarion in a short article feels impossible. This organization means everything to me. And at one point, it was the only thing I had going for me. Let me explain.
Like many students, the adjustment from high school to college was pretty rough for me. My grades in high school barely made the cutoff for Montclair State University and it prevented me from declaring my major until the Spring of 2019.
Furthermore, I was an insecure 18-year-old who lacked a backbone, had a crippling stutter disorder and struggled to make friends outside of my roommates.
I needed a sense of belonging, a community where my talent and passion for sports writing could be developed.
Thankfully, The Montclarion became my saving grace.
I still remember calling up Tara George about the university denying my application to the School Of Communication & Media (SCM) prior to my freshman year. After several minutes of venting my frustrations to her, she left me with this valuable piece of advice— “if you want to prove to yourself, join the Montclarion.”
That was just the kick I needed.
I still remember walking up to former editor-in-chief Haley Wells on the third day of school and telling her how much I wanted to write sports articles for The Montclarion. I probably sounded crazy because of how passionate I was about joining an organization that I had no ties with yet. But I had a chip on my shoulder— nobody was going to stop me from reaching my potential.
By the end of my first semester of college, I was named co-assistant sports editor. Four years and over 55 published stories later, I can say that I gave my very best to this organization.
Having a byline in the most viewed article in The Montclarion history was pretty sweet. Being named the sports editor in January 2021 after nearly three years of being an assistant editor was even sweeter. Winning two state media awards during my sophomore and junior year was an honor of a lifetime.
But no award will come close to the memories I’ve made with the people I’ve met at The Montclarion.
There are very few people in my life who I can totally act completely goofy and unconditionally myself around, and this year’s executive board was that group.
The amount of times I screamed Taylor Swift’s “All Too Well” song or danced to some frat party jams in The Montclarion office is most likely insurmountable. Shoutout to Megan Lim for being my biggest hater and motivator.
For everyone in the office to replicate that positive and light-hearted energy I brought every Wednesday allowed me to grow close bonds with so many of you. I’m entirely grateful for that.
The memories don’t stop in the office.
I will miss our gatherings at Emma Caughlan’s “traphouse” and our off-campus adventures such as Tommy’s Tavern for Christmas dinner and the 2022 College Media Association Convention in New York City.
For so long, I’ve felt like I had to put on a different persona around groups of people to fit in, but this organization taught me to truly appreciate the person I am.
There are so many people I can (and will be) thanking for my growth here at The Montclarion, but I can’t help but shout out a few.
Two people that I am incredibly grateful for are former sports editors Anthony Gabbianelli and Sam Impaglia. Anthony, you saw potential in a motivated, but inexperienced freshman sports writer, but you chose to stay patient with me. Thank you for teaching me that it’s not always about covering the X’s and O’s of a sporting event, but finding the powerful stories through these athletes and coaches that have been untold.
Sam, your leadership skills are second to none. You’ve instilled discipline and tough love in me whenever I may have fallen short while also uplifting me at my highest points, something I needed as a developing journalist.
Samantha Nungesser, you truly were The Montclarion’s real MVP this year. Your ability to command respect from your peers and inspire others to create award-winning content is undoubtedly impressive. However, you’re more than just an editor-in-chief; you are one of the most kindhearted and uplifting people I’ve ever been around.
To my successor, Matt Orth, our team revitalized the sports section this year and that is primarily due to your tremendous growth all year. From the first week of the school year, you consistently came out with well-reported stories and have always been receptive to any critiques that came your way. The results have shown. You are now an award-winning journalist and the next sports editor of this paper. I’m proud of you.
Finally, thank you to every writer, photographer, editor and more who I’ve had the pleasure of working with, conversing with, laughing with, etc. You have made working for a campus newspaper the most rewarding experience of my college career.
As Taylor Swift once said, “I remember it all too well.”