High school students count their blessings during Mount visit

Sandy damaged property, but not spirit
November 12, 2012


David Aboagye visits the Mount

Assistant professor Zachary Kudlak explains Mount Saint Mary College’s math and information technology major to David Aboagye, Jr. of Wappingers Falls, NY (front row, back seat). Joining the student were his father, David, and his mother, Cynthia.

Though many were still recovering from the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, high school students from the tri-state area headed 60 miles up the Hudson River to Mount Saint Mary College’s recent open house for a taste of the college experience.

Maria Walker of Wantagh, NY, said that she’s blessed to have a table to eat at this Thanksgiving. Walker and her friend, Debra Pellegrino of Valley Stream, NY, are both interested in the Mount’s education program.

Though they struggled without power for nearly 10 days, things could have been much worse, said Pellegrino; several friends and family members of the students lost their homes.

Walker said the tour helped put the past behind her so she could plan for the future.

“I’m looking forward to getting a feel for the college experience,” Walker said. “I’m a senior so it’s going to come quick…I really like it here.”

Faith Fishkin of New Hyde Park, NY, and Jessica Tobar of Beacon, NY, also visited the Mount to learn about the college’s opportunities in teacher education.

“I heard the education program is great here,” Tobar said, indicating that she would like to specialize in mathematics.

These prospective teachers are not alone. At the Mount, 16 percent of current freshmen are aiming for education careers. The college’s nationally accredited teacher education program utilizes fieldwork starting in sophomore year and prepares graduates for New York State licensure in careers as teachers and administrators.

Bianca Stefanacci, who hopes to major in biology on the Mount’s pre-med track, said her home in Milford, CT was without power for more than a week.

“I’m thankful to have a great family to do stuff with. Without power, we bonded,” said Stefanacci.

According to Stefanacci, visiting her cousin Rebeka Mitchell, a junior at the Mount who is on the pre-med track, was a good way to get back to normalcy. Mitchell plans to continue her education in grad school; with dedicated professors and high-tech laboratories, the Mount’s natural science courses will prepare her well.

Stefanacci said that she enjoys the campus views, as well as the food.

New York City native Anita Middleton, who is interested in obtaining a psychology degree, said that Sandy had flooded “all the way up to 30th Street.” But Middleton added, “Everything is good now…even with the snow storm that came a couple of days later, the sun came out and melted everything. It’s like nothing ever happened.”

Thankfully, not all of the potential students suffered Sandy’s wrath. Hans Resurreccion of Bloomfield, NJ and David Aboagye, Jr. of Wappingers Falls, NY, escaped the storm with few problems. Both students are interested in math and information technology careers, and at the Mount, strong faculty and state-of-the-art equipment helps prepare students for careers in educational technologies, networking, web technologies, and education.

Mount Visit November 2012

LEFT | Mount nursing graduate and Staten Island, NY resident Meline (Pittman) Radenberg ’87 (right) speaks with her daughter, Jessica Radenberg, while touring the Mount Saint Mary College campus. Jessica is interested in a physical therapy career. RIGHT | Kelly Whalen (back) and her friend Savanna Juengerkes, both of Islip, NY, visited Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, NY to explore careers in nursing and accounting respectively.

Nursing hopeful Kelly Whalen and her friend Savanna Juengerkes, both of Islip, NY, also came out of the storm relatively unscathed; both lost power for only a few hours.

“I know that two of my neighbors lost their houses,” said Whalen. “So I’m thankful that I still have a house.”

Juengerkes said she wants to follow in her father’s footsteps and become an accountant, something the Mount’s strong business courses, many with embedded real-world experience, can help her accomplish.

“My dad motivated me a bit,” she said. “I’m good with numbers.”

With Thanksgiving only a few days away, Emma Nicholas of West Milford, NJ is glad to have the love and support of her family as she embarks on a journey to become a nurse. Like Juengerkes, Nicholas was inspired by a family member – her mother, Jeannie, is currently taking nursing classes.

“I want to help people,” Nicholas said.

Forty percent of Mount freshmen aim for health professions. The college’s nationally accredited four year nursing degree program features high-tech simulator labs, hands-on clinical experience, and an NCLEX pass rate that consistently outperforms the state average.

Mount Saint Mary College also offers comprehensive study in communication, language arts, social sciences, philosophy and religion.

As the day wound down, 1987 Mount nursing graduate and Staten Island, NY resident Meline (Pittman) Radenberg stood outside of Guzman Hall, high above the majestic Hudson River. She pointed to the Villa, where she lived during her freshman year. She said that was the last year the building was used for student housing.

She told her daughter, Jessica Radenberg, who is interested in a career in physical therapy, about how she would sled down the hill next to the Villa when it snowed.

The recent hurricane ravaged Staten Island, Radenberg said.

“Entire blocks are gone,” she explained. “The whole shoreline has basically been readjusted by Sandy.”

Radenberg and her daughter were thankful that their home remained relatively undamaged when so many friends and neighbors lost everything. But Radenberg was also grateful for the simple joys in life, like taking to the fresh snow with a makeshift sled and sharing her great college experience with her daughter.

“I was very happy here,” she said. “Jessica’s college choice has to be hers, but she picked the Mount by herself. I was happy to come here today.”