CSPA Day Three, On the Cusp of Finality…

It is difficult for many to realize the amount of work to go into a trip – a trip that has benefits long after the trip itself.  Sure, there is the preparation of making a trip successful and with no hangups, but then there is the bigger picture.  Being able to set up experiences that will last long l past the trip itself – yes a group such as Repentino. wants to represent itself in its best light during the trip – if that there is no doubt.  One could settle for Repentino. being a student publication, but the implications when Repentino. was revived initially four years ago was to be more than that, to reach out and have life-long implications beyond the now – that is a challenge that no one every truly masters, but relies on opportunities that bring themselves to your doorstep every day, as well as planning every single moment – for what can be carried on for not just days ahead, but for weeks, months, and years afterwards, something individuals can carry with them forward beyond the now.  Often difficult situations, decisions, and getting through so much have to be done to do so. 

In waking up on the last day of the CSPA Conference, as these thoughts came to mind, it was humbling to see how proud the staff of Repentino. did in lieu of so many challenges.  The challenges of presenting methods that the staff have been learning and mastering all year, speaking to a group of individuals they never met in the first place, as well as the preparation that went into all of this alone, add to the fact that many of the staff never had to present to individuals other than they knew, let alone being able to get across to unknown attendees the importance and discoveries made along the way.  There are so many aspects that made just presenting, and not attending, a challenge, and yet, every single staff showed the belief in what they have learned, what they have done along the shoulders of so many, an came forward and proudly showed this with the fears nervousness, and doubts they carried with them.  And here we are.  The last day of CSPA, and the week amid so much working through so many things, and we will wonder days after this week, will any of this stick with us?  How did this week go so fast without us realizing it until the last day?  True, some moments played out in slow motion, and yet, the last full day in New York amid so much happening just – FLEW.

Even with all this occurring, I am not the easiest person to be around as many staff can tell you when so many things seem to be occurring at once, the sense of stress and worry making sure all are obtaining memories that will push them forward successful, basic anxieties of day-to-day schedules, preparation for sessions, they way others will best be able to accept what we have tried to do as a staff, that is just the surface.  No matter how much I try, worry and trying to fend off mistakes in the future still creep up on my day to day moods and the staff were able to stick and deal with my moodiness and extreme worries, which to be honest, can be trying.  That alone the staff should win a medal for.

Nina, a staff as a freshman at ASF, had moved to New Jersey.  We were lucky enough to have Nina as part of the staff still long distance, and she has been one of the best aspects of our  staff as well.  Being able to work from a distance in difficult, sometimes impossible at best.  We have been lucky enough to  have Nina be a part of our continuing success, herself traveling last year to be the one staff accepting the 2014-2105 CSPA awards, and again being lucky enough to have her a part of this year’s staff at CSPA. KNowing I’d see her as we started the day, and her Mom who was also a part of ASF was a great plus as well for this last day.  When I met them in Lerner Hall, it was as if she was still with us every day, and we both headed to Columbia early to insure that the equipment /technology in two rooms was ready for the last presenters of this week (that seems so strange to say) – Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 9.46.33 AMValeria, Natalia, Alexa were able to shift the presentation from Wednesday to Friday to allow the double broadway show to occur, which alone was a stressful but well welcomed advent, and so all was set.  In Hamilton 717 Dreaming Your Publication into Everyone’s Reality, Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 9.11.47 AMtook place, as well as in 516 all that is related to PR and Repentino.. 


While this was occurring, the presenters for fOnTs ArE tHe NeW yOu – so a few noteworthy aspects.

The PR presenters pulled off a GREAT representation of Repentino. using a creative Prezi.  The whole week so many other things were occurring and yet, you would have seen their presentation and thought, they lives for putting their energies into this – and yet, they had been juggling five other things at the same time.  Shifting to Hamilton 717 at the same time, two usually quiet and soft-spoken students began tackling the task of bringing much information to a highly attended workshop.  You could see and feel the energy and boldness seep into their presentation as they went along, and were able to handle the challenge of presenting confidently – with total success.  Session 2 enabled them to address every concern and issue that came up among the attendees, and provide a great path of ideas to all those that attended. While session 2 of the PR presenters was cancelled it went to show that the presenters were able to provide ideas, solutions, and answers in such a tight framework, that a second session was not needed.  They pulled off a very successful presentation that left ideas with those that left.

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 9.11.20 AM Usher in the Font session with two very capable staffs and wow, the attendees kept coming in like a flood, and at one point, the red shirt assistants that help with technology had to place a sign saying session closed.  Now seriously, on the last day of a conference you expect less that half being there and attending, and yet, the opposite happened with all session on this last day of CSPA.  It seemed at moments this was the first day.  The unique aspect of this session occurring was the usual impersonal topic of fonts being used and the ability of the staff to make it personal with all involved.  Speaking of being involved, the second session actively let all staff be involved with the very concepts being introduced with fonts in the first session – and all were very willing to be involved and participate – another sign of a truly successful presentation.

At the close of the sessions of presentation, we met at the center of the Columbia campus, snapped the traditional picture of successful attendees, we broke for lunch.  For the advisers lunch, we attended the ceremony of those that were awarded the Gold Key Recipients, which were Erinn Harris, Susan Massy, Kristi Rathbun, and Mike Simons.  It was refreshing to see so many colleagues giving all their time to push students forward to be more successful than these educators, with some of their very students in the room to witness this, a legacy had been created  The main aspect I kept thinking was how talented, successful, and full of potential the students and staff in the last four years I have encountered were worthy of the same honors I was witnessing.  I hoped that such a feeling would be felt by all who have attended the CSPA, as well as those individuals that have been a part of Repentino., that truly is the ultimate sign of success with all other aspects a close second. 

As we finished and 2:00 approached, we met in the Lerner Hall lobby (the auditorium was closed due to being ready for the Awards Ceremony.  We learned that a detail had been left out and we would not be a part of the Crown Awards which, to me was pretty tragic as the reviews we received from Ms. Zweibel’s session yesterday, Thursday were glowing, excited, and magnificent.  No doubt we would have received the Gold Crown and yet, we walked out with six individual awards we never had received to date for Repentino. – as well as a PRESLM NCTE award, so give and take.  Sitting through 2 and a half hours of not receiving the awards when the Repentino. staff had given so much of themselves to everyone attending – we knew the staff earned the afternoon to celebrate their success in the workshops.

Half of our group headed to explore Barnes & Noble on Broadway, half of our staff headed to the Rockefeller Center/Empire State Building, and you could almost see the relief in knowing, our presentations were homeruns and the staff had gone beyond the extra mile to show how successful they were as Repentino. Staff.  We came across some awesome finds at Barnes & Noble, then awed at the floor to ceiling books at West Sider Used Books, then to the hostel for a desperate attempt at a 50 minute catch up session on sleep, assignments, and changing.

5:15 hit and flew so fast (I managed a 20 minute nap) and we headed out to meet our staff at the MOMA.  Friday nights are free and we found ourselves, as usual per the Friday night MOMA crowd, surrounded by masses.  We made ourselves part of the check desk line, as there an ironic surprise.  I wear my Jays jacket from Seaford because it is the best equipped jacket I have for colder weather and while in line, someone behind us asked, “That is Seaford?” and I paused for a second and said yes!  Turns out that individual was from that area, and we laughed and caught up with that area, and she also was familiar with the Butler, PA area.  We laughed, caught up and it shows, the familiarity of others, does not stop anywhere, it can happen in Mexico, New York, Slippery Rock, anywhere  🙂

Having being through the permanent exhibits, I hit the temporary exhibits, and there were many.  From the courtyard, to the middle level of Japanese arhcitecture, Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 9.12.28 AMto the top Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 9.12.44 AMfloor of soon to be exhibited Degas and Marcel Broodthaers, the temporary exhibits took as long as the temporary but were all well taken in, the MOMA, is the MOMA afterall. 

With a little time left, I went out of the MOMA, took a stroll around the block, hitting the Magnolia Bakery Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 9.13.37 AM well as the corner hotdog stand, Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 9.13.52 AM and admiring New York at night, our last night in NYC.

Meeting back in the lobby of the MOMA, staff capturing some great posters of photographs being given out, we headed to satisfy our grumbling stomachs.  The Carnegie Deli loomed in front of us, as smells drafted out, we were itching to get inside.  Soon enough, we were seated and whoa.  I still reel at the sizes of proportions in the states compared to outside of the states but then add the Carnegie Deli, and you get times two of that proportion.  From Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 9.14.14 AMonion rings, to fries, to sandwichesScreen Shot 2016-03-23 at 9.14.02 AM to yes, the cheesecake Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 9.14.19 AM that rivals the Empire State Building, we worked through the size as we took in all the autographed photos in the Carnegie Deli – and yes, some did take on the pickles that arrived as well.

Sauntering through Times Square for the last time, I had to say I was never more grateful than being surrounded by a staff that just pushed forward and emerged successful beyond any measure of the reviewers of CSPA, the judges, the attendees, anyone.  It was a gift to be surrounded by such a staff full of potential and success, and being able to internalize all they represented.  As we made the metro become our last night trip, all of this always hits you in waves as you come up to the last day of the experience, after putting so much into this adventure.  it wasn’t hard to sleep with a smile on your face knowing that so much success was achieved and that in the part of such a great staff.  Exhausting?  Yes.  So much planning?  Yes. Exhilarating and worthwhile?  Absolutely.  And yet, there still is Saturday  🙂   it is true for me, trying to put aside something for the moment and have it be present to carry on for longer than the now, but for days, weeks, months, and years ahead.  That takes alot of taking yourself and setting it aside for others, alot of planning, alot, alot, alot of thinking, but certainly this week proved it is all worth it.  🙂




About Harry Brake

Employee of Woodbridge High School, Library Media Specialist, Media crazy! :)
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