Article by Amanda Duncklee, class of 2014:
In the Transitions program, every year, Kellenberg offers the senior class the exclusive opportunity to gain more knowledge about the world beyond high school. Professionals in the financial, legal and substance abuse fields visit Kellenberg to share knowledge that might ease the move from the high school to college campus.
The Transitions program is comprised of three separate presentations in the Millennium Room. Since the senior class is large and the space in the Millennium Room is limited, each topic discussion takes place over two days so that every homeroom has a chance to attend the hour and a half presentation. The students are encouraged to ask questions, take notes and listen attentively to what each presenter is saying.
On March 17 and 18, the seniors met to discuss finances, the first subject of the program. Presenters included Mrs. Caroline Luca, the Vice President of Signature Bank and Mr. Thomas Duffect, a professional financial consultant. The two worked together to give an engaging presentation for the seniors, complete with a PowerPoint presentation, video clips and handouts. While the two were humorous, Mrs. Luca and Mr. Duffect’s presentation was very serious and imperative to the seniors’ future success.
“You must remember to keep, make and save money,” advised Mr. Duffect. “Also, be careful with your credit cards: they’re like report cards on your ability to make and save money. You can use them all you like, but always remember to pay back what you owe and never spend money that you know you will not be able to pay back in a timely fashion.”
Mrs. Luca advised, “Pay your bills, and do not be late,” Mrs. Luca stressed. “Nobody is entitled to buy a home; you have to work for it. Don’t rely on social security programs to save money for you because you should all start saving now.”
Both Mr. Duffect and Mrs. Luca advised seniors to look for every scholarship opportunity possible. Mrs. Luca pointed out, “The more money you get now is less money you have to pay back later on in life.”
Senior Anthony Mascia plans on going to St. John’s University next year and felt that the financial presentation was enormously helpful. “My favorite session was the financial one,” expressed Mascia. “It provided practical information as well as laid out some of the foundation for my future plans.”
Maureen O’Malley ’14 also felt the financial presentation was very relevant to the senior class. “Everyone is going to have to know how to handle money,” stated O’Mally, a future Health Sciences major. “The whole Transitions program is good because it teaches us seniors things we don’t learn in class.”
Drug and alcohol awareness was the topic for the next Transitions presentations on March 19 and March 21. Ms. Lisa Granz and Ms. Jaimie Oliver both work for the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. Ms. Granz has run the Student Assistant Program for nearly two years and Ms. Oliver is currently a student assistant. Since they were only several years older than the seniors, the duo was able to relate well to the students and adequately respond to all questions.
“There is nothing more detrimental to your academic, social, mental and emotional standing than drugs and alcohol,” warned Ms. Granz. “I hate to see when young people go to college with the best of intentions and get caught up in addiction.” Ms. Oliver added, “Addiction does not discriminate. It affects everyone, regardless of your home life or education. While it is very rewarding for us to help people overcome addiction and dependency issues, we would rather no one have those issues to begin with.”
The senior class found the drugs and alcohol presentation to be very interesting and informative. Senior Stephanie Locicero, who plans on going to Rochester Institute of Technology, noted, “The drugs and alcohol seminar was the most enjoyable because the presentation was given to fit the mind-set of an average teenager.” SUNY Cortland-bound Ryan Simmons had his own observations on the presentation. “The presenters were enthusiastic and really insightful. Going away to college is a whole new world, and to be given all this information was extremely beneficial. I will have to deal with many issues after graduation, and being given this knowledge was awesome.”
The final Transitions seminar took place on April 3 and April 4 and covered legal rights. Mr. Richard Kerins, attorney at law and co-owner of law firm Mahon, Mahon, Kerins & O’Brien, LLC, gave the senior class insight on how to avoid legal trouble both in and out of college.
Mr. Kerins began, “I want to make you aware of your legal rights and responsibilities as an adult. In the eyes of the law, you are an adult at 18, meaning you will be held accountable for all your actions.”
Mr. Kerins spoke about legal rights on and off campus, the importance of contracts and being conscientious of what goes online. “You have to be very careful before signing anything and about what you post online. Anything can be used against you, and it is very important to preserve your rights.”
Mr. Kerins concluded, “Our Founding Fathers worked too hard for our rights and freedoms; don’t incriminate yourselves.”
Senior Matthew Capobianco, a future accounting major at Loyola University, felt that the college legal presentation was the most beneficial. “I was impressed with the presentation that was prepared for us. It is important as we prepare for college to know what to do in legal situations that will affect us. Whether I am attending a frat party or signing a document, Mr. Kerins made me realize how aware I need to be of my rights and my future.”
About the presentations in general, Capobianco said, “I was impressed with the honesty and pragmatism of the presentations. There was no sugar coating but there wasn’t any fear mongering either. I don’t think any of us left the Transitions program wishing to be shielded from the real world. I think the theme of the Transitions program was ‘This can happen to you, but this is how you can stop it from happening to you.’”
2013 graduate and current Adelphi freshman Melissa Walsh agreed that the information from the Transitions was very informative and continues to help her in college. “I have an advantage over students who did not have such a program in their school. Some information about topics the program covered was only known by professionals, and unless you knew someone who was a professional, you may not have known that information.”