By James Mooney III ’20:
There is a first and last for everything. Every great achievement begins with the first step. “Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.” This quote from John F. Kennedy embodies the human spirit in the endeavors we take, whether great or small. At Kellenberg, many members of the student body have made great strides, beginning with their first step as a freshman to their last moment as a senior. Anya Murphy, Editor in Chief of The Phoenix, Kristen Mangiapanello, Communications Club producer, and Maureen Lewin, Track team Captain are three students who dared to take the first step.
Anya first got involved with the newspaper completely by accident – she had Mr. Flood for study hall sophomore year, and she asked him to read a paper she was writing. About a week later, he just came up to her and said, “You’re going to apply for an editorship.” A month later, Anya was in the office with Mr. Flood for the first time.
Anya actually discovered journalism through her years of writing for the Phoenix. She had always loved to read and write, and knew that it was a talent that she possessed, but never really tapped into it seriously until she started reporting. Anya recounts, “The newspaper was never a “goal” per se for me, but it became something much more important than that – I can’t picture how my life would have gone had I not become an editor. It’s become a natural extension of my high school career and it has shaped my life more than anything else.”
Her first article was about the Marianist Bicentennial in January 2017. Anya remembers writing it and researching the words for the focus on her article. Having skipped lunch that day to interview Bro. Roger Poletti, S.M,. Anya remembers Mr. Flood assigned it to her that morning and wanted it to be ready for review the next day. The idea of getting it done and being on deadline got her adrenaline pumping immediately. This process of investigation and research made her feel purposeful and confident. Anya tells her story, “Being editor-in-chief feels almost the same as being an editor, just a little more in depth. It’s as if you were renting a house and eventually you bought the house and you were suddenly in charge of the maintenance and upkeep but it was still your same house. Since I was the only junior on the staff last year, it fell to me to assume the role this year, and I had big shoes to fill. Last year’s staff was an incredible team of people whom I am proud to call my closest friends. After winning first place in so many competitions last year, I’ll admit that I was apprehensive going into this year’s awards season.”
Many hours have been spent in the office. But Anya has loved every minute of it and will be heartbroken when it is over. Mr. Flood and Anya always say, “This is why they pay us the big bucks”! Our Phoenix Editor in Chief shared her parting thoughts, “Sometimes I think about having to write my Editor’s Farewell, and I honestly almost cry thinking about saying goodbye to my home and my newspaper family.
I think that Issue six and the sentinel are going to be incredibly bitter sweet. Knowing that the thing that I hold so close to my heart is going to end I’m certain will put a sad twist in my last days as the EIC, but I have supreme confidence in the people I am leaving the paper to and I know that I can always come home if I need to. It’s bold of anyone to assume I won’t be FaceTiming in every afternoon from three to five or researching ways to bottle and ship the smell of printed ink.”
Kristen Mangiapanello’s first steps toward Communications Club began when she was a tyro in the Latin School, “I found out about the communications club in 6th grade but didn’t join until 7th. One of my Marianist Mentors in 7th grade was a producer Dan Gavin, and another was a member of ETV, Nick Boffardi. Both of them encouraged me to pursue one of the clubs. Dan really convinced me to do Communications because he knew that I loved public speaking and presentations. So one Friday he brought me up to a meeting and he trained me. The following week I did my first ever announcements (PM). I remember I read the prayer and I was so nervous! I remember that as I was doing it I couldn’t get out the word “Hail” and I butchered it. I was so embarrassed and I thought I would never do announcements again. But I did. I did PM one more time and then I proceeded to doing AM. As a tiny, nervous 7th grader I sat behind the big desk and looked into the camera. And I did it. I did my first ever morning announcements, the first step on a long journey. I was physically shaking so much that everyone noticed. I was terrified. But I’m so glad I did it.”
Kristen has been a producer in Communications Club since the end of her Freshman year. She is known as the “Mom” of the club and Mr. Beyrouty has bestowed the title of “Senior Executive Producer” on her. Kristen is at all of the daily announcements and knows the names and strengths of the club members. Her time in Communications Club has prepared her for the University of Vermont where she will be pursuing secondary education.
Kristin reflects on her upcoming last moments in Communication at Kellenberg. “I am going to be devastated on the last day of announcements. Communications been such a huge part of my time at Kellenberg and I’ve really poured out a so much time, energy, and love into this club. It’s going to be sad to leave my fellow producers (especially the rest of the seniors) because we are so close and have such a good time up in the studio in the mornings together. I do know that I will be the final person to go on our last day and I might have something special that I’m going to say or do (I’m not sure yet). I do think that we all are going to be introduced “for the final time.” I’m going to miss it.”
The firsts and lasts are very strong for our athletes at Kellenberg. Maureen Lewin recalls her first race as a freshman runner, “My first notable moment from my track career at Kellenberg was my first race. I ran the 1000 at St. Anthony’s. I didn’t know anybody in my race except my sister’s best friend. Just her being there really helped to calm my nerves!”
Maureen was lucky to be a part of the 4 x 800 relay team as a starting freshman. Each leg runs 4 laps on indoor competitions and she was the lead-off leg. Her sister Deirdre also ran on this relay team. They won their first race at the Armory for the Stanner Games. Maureen’s relay team also qualified for the states competition at Cornell.
Maureen’s reflects on track and her leadership role, “It feels great to have competed in such an amazing sport over all four of my years at Kellenberg. I feel as if over the years, my leadership role on the team has grown significantly. Starting freshman year, I joined winter track and did soccer and not cross country. A lot of the older girls knew the freshman on track from cross country, but I didn’t know many of them, expect my sister and some of her friends. However, from the first day, all of the upperclassmen were so welcoming and as the year progressed, I constantly looked to all of them as great role models on and off the track. The great leadership I had shown to me my first few seasons of track has definitely helped me to lead the Underclassmen now. I always try my best to be someone who the freshman can look up to and come to if they need advice or help with anything. Also, before races, I try to give everybody on the team and pep talk so they know how much work they have put in at practice and that all of it will be sure to pay off during the race.”
Maureen will be experiencing her final moments at Kellenberg, but continuing her track career at Boston College. Her final reflections on her time at Kellenberg, “I am so thankful for this sport because without it I wouldn’t have met my best friends or learned so many important life lessons. I am so thankful for my family, friends, and Mr. Brown for always supporting me throughout these four years. Some of the best moments I’ve had on the team include all the little things like the bus rides to and from meets and some of the overnight trips we’ve taken for meets. The great leadership shown to me over the years has helped me to lead the Underclassmen. I always try to be my best in my pep talks and as a leader that my teammates can look up to.”
As these three seniors depart they leave lasting impacts on Kellenberg and their club or team forever. Remember that it is never too late to try to create an impact. At Kellenberg you can only share that last moment if you take the first step.
By James Mooney III ’20: