My Day at Cabrini
Hello, my name is Bill P. and I would like to talk about my day spent at Cabrini College attending Professor Linda Panetta’s photography courses that were held on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013. I was invited along with two other gentlemen (Philip and David) to attend because we have been associated with Linda and her photography program, Photography for Social Change for a year now.
We were asked to address the classes and talk a little about ourselves and our circumstances, which at one point we were all homeless and how we all ended up at Bethesda, which is a charity that houses the homeless. It is also through Bethesda that we came in contact with Linda and her students at Cabrini.
Linda is very concerned with social issues and with the help of Cabrini and Bethesda she instituted a program to teach a group of us photography hoping to help people such as myself and to also make her students aware of the problem of homelessness and social justice. The three of us were very fortunate that even though the program only ran for one semester, Linda has a very generous and kind heart that really cares for other people and kept the program running through her dedication and the kindness of some of her friends and students.
I personally came to Bethesda because I suffered through the loss of parents and other family members and the depression that arose from these circumstances. The position I am in now did not happen overnight, but it was a slow and steady process that happened over a number of years. I am happy to say that with Linda and her committed group of friends and students that I am now trying to rise above my problems and become a productive member of society again.
The program has done wonders for my self-esteem and happiness. Her students such as Amber, Anthony, Dan, Rocco, Christina, and Ryan (and many others) have been amazing in how they have treated all of us with respect and kindness. Not only did they help to teach us photography, but I would like to say befriended and lent a helping hand to us all. The program could not have succeeded without their enthusiastic participation week in and week out. They all were a big part of why I continued to come each week.
We have been fortunate to attend some awesome events through the photography program. We have gone to places such as the Camden Aquarium, Edgar Allen Poe house, the Art Museum, the Philadelphia tattoo convention and the Philadelphia Zoo (to name a few). And Linda was even able to get us photo passes to shoot along side her at the Appel Farm Arts and Music Festival, and the Peter Yarrow and Paul Stookey (of Peter, Paul and Mary) concert at Longwood Gardens. Not only were we given the opportunity to attend such wonderful events, we but we were able to photograph the bands from right in front of the stage. Linda even brought us backstage to meet the artists in person and get our pictures taken with them. We are very lucky that Linda has so many important friends and connections.
Although all of this sounds great, the most important memories for me are the friendships that I have been able to make through Linda and her program. Even when we just walked around the neighborhood taking pictures of cracks in the walls or pavement, it was the experience of being with such a wonderful group of people that I will always hold dear. It is not just about the places that you go to, but it depends on who you go there with is what makes it special.
I would like to talk a bit about our time at Cabrini. Well, the day started with me, David, and Phil all meeting and taking the train out to meet Linda who then drove us all up to Cabrini. We arrived early and were treated to a very nice lunch and as we were sitting down we were very fortunate to have the Dean of Students greet us all at the cafeteria and welcome us to the school. It was a nice gesture and opportunity to meet someone who has had a hand in bringing Linda's program and students to help us in our recovery; he is a very pleasant person too. After we were all finished with our meal we went to Linda's classroom and got ready for the day of meeting and speaking to her students and telling them a little about ourselves and how we all ended up at the Bethesda Project and we came to know Linda and some of her students.
We all had the opportunity to speak to and meet Linda's students for the fall of 2013 and all I can say is that I really felt welcomed by Linda's students, both past and present, and I know Dave and Phil both felt the same. The students were very gracious in their hospitality and making us feel at ease. We also learned about what Linda teaches her students and what projects most of them had planned for their midterms and final projects. It was rewarding to realize that we have learned many of the same things over the past year as she is teaching at the college. It was an interesting day learning how classes are held in a communications course at a renowned program.
Linda's second class of the day wasn't as crowded as her first, but it was more advanced in the amount of work they were all assigned for each week, or so it seemed. Her students all worked for the Cabrini College newspaper THE LOQUITUR. After the three of us spoke to the class we sat in and learned how the assignments for the newspaper were given out for each issue. Students had to sign out the appropriate lens needed for each assignment whether it is for a game or portrait taking for an interview with someone at Cabrini. Not only that but they had to know what the best camera settings for the occasion that they were going to be photographing. It was quite interesting to have been given such a unique opportunity to learn what it takes to become a professional in the art of photography.
The highlight of the day for me though, and I'm sure Phil would agree, was being shown a good portion of the Cabrini Communications Program. A favorite student of mine from the first class of Photography for Social Change, Ryan McLaughlin, took the time out of his busy schedule to come back to greet us and say hello, it only made me think even more highly of him. He also took the time out to show Phil and I around the School of Communication building. He showed us where THE LOQUITUR is designed and edited in the official newsroom where he also happens to be the assistant managing editor. I read an article by him about last year's course of Photography for Social Change and I was very impressed by his writing skills so I'm not surprised at all that he has risen this high so fast at the paper; he is a very gifted young man. Ryan and his friend (he is the sports editor), then took the two of us to see the news studio and the control room. It was interesting to say the least; I mean one my see something like that in a movie, but most never gets the chance to see something like that in person. After that we all went over to the radio station and went into the booth and were introduced to the DJ on at the time and we were able to speak to him about what he was doing and how much he enjoyed school. This it was an experience that both of us will always remember. Although Phil is a man of few words, I know he was having a great time by the way he couldn't stop smiling and talking about the classes and tour.
Another part of the day that I will never forget was the kindest of Linda's students and fellow colleagues. I am not the best when it comes to names, but some of them that I haven't already mentioned that I have had the pleasure in getting to know prior to that day are Amber, Dan, and Ty. I just would like to thank them along with everyone I met that day for their kindness, hospitality, and generosity in allowing the three of us to join them for the day. Again, it was wonderful and so kind of Jeff Gingerich, the Dean of Student's, to take time out of his busy schedule to come and welcome us to his school and to wish us well. I would like to thank a few other professors, Cathy Youngman and Jerry Zurek, for taking the time to introduce themselves to us.
But most of all I want to thank Professor Linda Panetta for all she has done for me and the guys since the very first we met. Not only is she a wonderful person and teacher to us, but it was the absolute pleasure to see her in action as a professor at Cabrini. She is terrific in her job and really makes learning fun and exciting, just as her commitment to all of us at Bethesda. Dave and Phil both feel the same as me when it comes to Linda and Photography for Social Change; they are just as fond of Linda and the program as me. Dave even went out and bought himself a camera over the winter so he could go out and indulge his passion as a photographer. And as far as Phil is concerned, even though he has a harder time than the rest of us getting around because of his age, he has never missed an opportunity to come along with us wherever we went. I know they also come out to the groups not only to learn and practice photography, but to see Linda, her friends, and her students for the chance to be around and spend some time with some of the nicest people anyone could meet.
I am so fortunate that I have met Linda, her students from Cabrini College, and her friends. There is so much more that I could talk about of what the program has done for me, the events and places we have gone to, and all the wonderful people we have met, but it could take up a whole issue of THE LOQUITUR. I would just like to say thank you to Linda and her students for their kindness, generosity, and friendship.