Bucks County is famous for a lot of things. General George Washington (yes, that George Washington) crossed the Delaware on Christmas morning here. Edward Hicks painted The Peaceable Kingdom here. The starting point of Penn’s Walking Purchase was here. The oldest movie theater in America is here. But the little kids who visit Bucks County aren’t impressed by all that. All they’re interested in is one attraction: Sesame Place.
The Sesame Street-themed water and amusement park is the highlight of every toddler’s summer up and down the east coast; the iconic Rubber Ducky slide can be seen towering over the park. And every year, Sesame Place hosts the Courier-Kiwanis Sesame Place Classic Run at nearby Middle Bucks Institute of Technology. The 5K race benefits the Dick Dougherty Scholarship Fund, granting money to college-bound seniors at the county’s high schools, and, in return, runners get a one-day pass to Sesame Place with their race bib.
I knew a lot of cross country runners that would participate in high school, but this year, for the first time, my sister, after sitting out the Broad Street Run, would run. I met my mom and sister at Conwell-Egan Catholic High School around 8:40 this morning, as the runners stretched in the pouring rain. At only 55 degrees, it certainly didn’t feel like mid-May in Philadelphia.
At 9am, everyone lined up under the firetruck ladders and set off at the sound of the trucks’ sirens. Meghan crossed the halfway point, commanding second place of the females. In the cold, steady downpour, her muscles tightened up and she was forced to slow up. She crossed the finish line as the 4th female, 20th overall.
When the official results were processed, we learned Meghan had also won the women’s 19-29 year old division and her roommate, Emily, had come in second, both placing similarly to their finishes at the Temple Alumni Weekend 5K race.
Despite my mom and I both wearing galoshes, thick socks, and heavy windbreakers, we were both pretty cold watching Meghan and Emily race, but it was fun seeing Meghan win…even if my iPhone got a little wet. Even through the rain, everyone had a great time, especially the little kids, jumping in the puddles.
After wins at the Temple Alumni Weekend 5K and the Sesame Place Classic 5K, I think it’s safe to say Sissy’s conquered the 5K distance. She’s entering the Philadelphia Marathon in November…and I already smell a win at that level, too! Go Sissykins!
I’ve been a Diamond Leader at Temple for as long as I can remember. By pure coincidence, I moved into the Leadership Living Learning Community in White Hall my freshman year. After that, it was a slippery slope. I started attending conferences, movie nights, workshops, retreats, and seminars, and was quickly getting addicted to the Office of Leadership Development.
I’ve been fortunate enough to do a lot as a Diamond Leaders; I attended a service immersion trip to Camden, I was selected as a participant to the Leadershape Institute, and I was chosen as Diamond Leader of the Year as a sophomore, an awesome moment. Safe to say, I absolutely owe my confidence at Temple to this program. And in February, I was honored to wear my Diamond Leader medal when I gave the university’s Commencement speech.
Every year, the Office of Leadership Development and Student Activities hold their annual awards ceremony. After graduating in February, the last thing I expected to see in my inbox early last week was an invitation to the program. I didn’t know what the ceremony would have in store for me, but I was excited. My parents were excited for me, too, and we drove down to school.
After making a quick visit to the Welcome Center to say hi to Niki and the Owl Ambassadors, my parents and I walked to the Student Center, where I was eager to introduce them to Lauren Bullock, the Director of Leadership Development. Lauren, a former Sports Information Director, has been a great mentor to me–not just in leadership, but also in sports and with career advice. Lauren told us during the ceremony that we had her for life, and I’m certainly lucky to have someone so encouraging and supportive as our leadership director!
I was able to catch up with some of my favorite Diamond Leaders, and we reminisced that it’s nearly been an entire year since the incredible week we spent at the Leadershape Institute. Although I had graduated with the Class of 2012, I was recognized as a graduate of the program and ceremoniously received my Diamond Leader medallion, the mark of the program’s completion.
I may have already worn my medal at graduation, but it was still exciting to be recognized as a graduate of the program and to share that moment with my parents. My mom was the one who encouraged me to get involved with the leadership program at TU after feeling so lost those first few weeks on campus and it’s only brought confidence, strength, and knowledge, and I owe a lot to my experience as a Diamond Leader. You know what they say…mom is indeed always right! I may not have found my path after Temple just yet, but I know that being a DL has given me a great head start and given me the confidence to do so many incredible things, already. I owe so much to this program, which truly helped me become Temple Made…so thank you, Mom!
I didn’t run Broad Street yesterday, but it sure felt like I did. After waking up early, unloading medals in the freezing cold, and spending all day with a smile stuck on my face as I congratulated the finishers, I was tired. But spending a day in the city is rarely complete without a stop at Rachel’s apartment, which served as the best post-race recovery.
Rachel and I met as Owl Team Leaders working summer orientations at Temple a few summers ago and we just clicked. We’re both a little quirky, love sweatpants and dorky boy bands…and are huge addicts of Philly Flavors ice cream on Fairmount! She quickly became my closest friend at school, and even after graduation, I make sure to visit when I can.
After the Broad Street Run in the morning and lunch at my sister’s, I drove to Rachel’s for her weekly Sunday Dinner tradition, where her and her roommates, Jeff and Monika, cook an entrée and their friends bring a side dish or dessert. About ten of us, including three Broad Streeters who had run the race earlier in the day, gathered to eat vegetarian chili, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, garlic bread, and chicken while watching Iron Man and Iron Man 2.
Saturday night, mom made a delicious batch of root beer float cupcakes, which definitely satisfied my sweet tooth and were a hit at Sunday dinner. With their frosting and decorative straws that truly make them look like root beer floats, Jeff decided to trick as many dinner guests as he could by “drinking” out of his cupcake and seeing who would follow! A few definitely fell for it, giving us all a good laugh!
It was so great to catch up with Rachel and enjoy a nice meal after Broad Street!
I don’t like running.
I don’t like getting up at 4am.
I don’t like having frozen fingers and toes.
But I love the Broad Street Run.
The Broad Street Run is the epitome of why I love Philadelphia. It’s more than a race. 40,000 runners dash past some of the city’s landmarks on its single most famous street: Noam Chomsky’s Central High, Temple University, the Divine Lorraine, City Hall, the Kimmel Center, the stadiums, and the Navy Yard. They’re cheered on by throngs of Philadelphians for ten grueling miles. It’s a show of the determination and strength the city’s known for…and always rewarded with a Philly soft pretzel and Tastykake at the finish line.
Last year, my family and I watched the runners–my sister, cousins, and friends among them–arrive at the Navy Yard. I was so impressed by the race that I was determined to start running when I moved to Colorado, and it motivated me to run ten 5Ks.
With my sister and cousins sitting this year’s race out, I figured it was a great time to volunteer at one of my favorite events. I signed up to hand out medals at the finish line. While living at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado, one of my absolute favorite parts was being able to personally say “good luck” to each athlete before they set off for the London Olympics. Here, I would get to personally congratulate each finisher.
When a nasty 4am wake-up call interrupted my weekend sleep, I could only laugh when I received a text from Dom–who hadn’t yet gone to bed out in Colorado! I made my cuppa tea and drove down 95 to the Wells Fargo Center which was packed with runners and fans. It was reassuring to see Homeland Security and the Philadelphia Police guarding the route.
At a bitter 41 degrees, it made for quite cold work unpacking hundreds of boxes of medals. With 160 medals to a box, it was time-consuming and my fingers were frozen, but it was fun to listen to the volunteers’ stories: injured runners, parents of Broad Streeters, and those motivated by honoring the memory of the Boston Marathon victims.
After two hours of unpacking, the sun refusing to shine, and the temperature refusing to rise, there was a roar from the spectators at the announcement that the 2013 Broad Streeters–all donning red socks and stickers reading From Philly to Boston With LOVE in solidarity with Boston–had sung “Sweet Caroline” at the starting line and then set off. Nearly 50 minutes later, the first elite runners arrived. Not long after, I was ecstatic to see Vinnie, a former Owl Ambassador, cross the finish line. It was so exciting to congratulate him and give him his medal! Such a proud moment.
I yelled “congratulations!” (quite literally) 40,000 times yesterday, but while I thought I would grow tired of it as the race went on, it was more exciting. To me, it was more rewarding to congratulate the runners who didn’t just wake up and run ten miles, but who trained for months, who checked an item off their bucket list, who gave it their all. That put the biggest smile on my face.
I was a little disappointed I didn’t see our local celebrities, the marathon-ing Channel 6 anchors, Cecily Tynan and Adam Joseph, but it was still an incredibly inspiring day. After the last Broad Street Run, I wrote that I wanted to run in Colorado, and I met my goal. After this Broad Street Run, I’m upping the ante. Soon, I won’t be the one handing out the medals at the Broad Street Run, but I’ll be receiving the medal I earned. One of these days, I’ll be a Broad Streeter.
Already can’t wait for Broad Street 2014!
I love my high school gym. Probably more than most people should. It’s the gym that feels the most like home for me. It’s not the navy and silver banners, or the logo on center court that I’ve earned the right to walk on, or that I know the grooves in the maple like the back of my hand or the countless times I’ve heard the national anthem echoing across the walls. What makes my gym feel like home is the rafters.
If those rafters could talk, they’d tell some of my favorite memories. They’d tell about when the basketball team beat Pennsbury for the first time in seven years. Or when we held the school’s first all-night dance marathon, Rock-a-Thon. Or the smiles of the kids honored at each Athletes Helping Athletes Classic. Or the senior basketball season I never wanted to end.
But last night, those rafters gained a new memory, one, that for the first time in a long time, wasn’t mine. It was my brother’s senior night.
After racing back down the Turnpike from a full, exciting day with my favorite quads, I walked up the steps of my alma mater, armed with my DSLR, ready to see the CR North Indians take on the rival Neshaminy Redskins. The nerves coach Greg Marchetti were feeling were palpable and the boys were restless with excitement.
While the parents decorated the Commons and dropped off food, my parents and I hung poster portraits of the seniors against the bleachers in the gym, which was already laden with balloons, lights, and streamers. With warmups over and cameras at the ready, the seniors met up with their parents for the pregame ceremony. After each family walked out, it was time for the game to get underway. Neshaminy would not be an easy match, but Senior Night provided a little extra fuel.
The Indians confidently took the first game, before struggling with controversial calls from the officials and a strong Redskins squad. It was definitely stressful to watch, and I likened it to watching the Temple-Indiana NCAA Tournament matchup…and I don’t care all that much for volleyball, so you know I was into it to compare it to that game! Thankfully, Council Rock North dominated in the last game and beat the Redskins to take their Senior Night.
After the game, everyone went downstairs to the Commons in the West Wing, where the parents had organized a chili cookout for dinner. The parents mingled while the boys took the opportunity to sign the posters of the seniors. There was even a cake with the team picture and cupcakes with each of the seniors’ faces on them! It was definitely a perfect way to end Senior Night.
I once watched my high school basketball coach, Derek Wright, give a talk to a bunch of young kids my senior year, early one Saturday morning, as they sat on that same court. He stood on the school’s logo, the big Indian headdress with the large CRN letters in the center of the gym, and no one else was allowed to touch it or sit on it or walk over it. That logo, he explained, was his. He’d earned his diploma from Council Rock North, he’d earned his varsity letter playing basketball for the Indians, he earned that privilege to walk all over that logo and call it his. And when you’d played your heart on that court and worn that CR on your chest and given everything you had to your school and received that varsity letter, he said, you’d have earned it, too.
No matter what court I walked on through the years, I never forgot that, and I’ve never stepped on anyone’s else’s logo. I know that the court on 62 Swamp Road, will stay the only logo I’ll ever walk on because it’s the only one I’ve earned the right to call my own.
Congratulations, Jeremy, you’ve now got the right to walk all over that court and call it yours. You truly earned it.
When I got my first piece of Temple Alumni mail before I’d even donned my cap and gown, I laughed. And then another came. And another. And then, not a month after I’d given the Commencement speech in the Baptist Temple, a brochure about Temple Alumni Weekend. Holy cow, did that make me feel old.
So I flipped through the different events. A Phillies game. A trolley tour. A 5K. A TED talk. A spring game. Wait, a 5K? I yelled across the house to my mom; I could do that. And so, she checked her calendar, I checked mine, and we registered that night. I was going to my first Alumni Weekend. And I was running a 5K.
I’ve run a lot of 5Ks. Well, ten, to be exact. This summer, while living in Colorado, I ran a 5K every week–during wildfires, Olympic Games, torrential downpours. And I did it because I was proving something to myself. And while those runs were incredibly important to me, this one seemed to mean just a little bit more. With the Boston Marathon bombings only six days earlier, I donned my Red Sox hat out of solidarity. I was going to finish this race to prove something else this time, to prove the terror couldn’t win. That even though I don’t run, I could do one small race to finish this for Boston.
My mom and I met my sister, Meghan, at Founder’s Garden, checked in, and were handed bibs (My first bib! Big deal here…) and #BostonStrong bracelets. Mom and I were in the walkers group, looking for a more leisurely Sunday morning than the competitive runners who registered wearing Philadelphia Marathon, Boston Marathon, and Broad Street Run jerseys. We took the loop around campus, walking past some of my favorite buildings, laughing at the racewalkers, and we were cheered as we crossed the finish line by all the competitive runners, which was the best feeling. In Colorado, we weren’t usually cheered by spectators as it was a weekly, mundane event, so it was an exciting moment.
After the walkers finished, the runners lined up on the starting line, and after a moment of silence for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings, they were off. I snuck off to the refueling tent to grab a cornbread muffin and a water bottle, and as I walked back, Meghan was completing the first loop, solidly in second place. She completed the race clinching second place overall and first in the women’s division. I was very proud, but I had to laugh…this was Alumni Weekend and I was the alum here! She hasn’t even graduated yet!
I’m all about school spirit. I’m pretty I own more Temple gear than any Owl really should (as if that’s actually possible). But when we got to Founder’s Garden, the sheer amount of people wearing cherry took me by surprise. So many proud alumni came out, just to come back to their school and enjoy a great day. They had their kids, their friends, their parents, their spouses. All to show their pride for Temple.
I’ve never really counted myself as an alum. I’m 21 years old and younger than most of my classmates who haven’t even graduated yet. I think of alums as the people who have accomplished things in the world, who bring their kids back, who stroll around and reminisce and take in all the changes to campus. That’s not me. I graduated less than four months ago. The campus hasn’t changed. I haven’t accomplished great things. But today was the first time I felt like the alumna I am. I had never met any of the people I raced with today, but we all had something in common. We all have degrees from the school that was perfect for each of us; we all love Temple.
Happy Alumni Weekend…and go Owls!
I can’t do math. I can’t draw a straight line. And I’m pretty sure I couldn’t stack hundreds of cans in creative designs. And in all seriousness, I probably couldn’t even count all those cans.
But my sister can. And better her than me. Trust me.
My sister, Meghan, is a sophomore at Temple, double majoring with two ridiculously prestigious (and over my head) degrees: Architecture and Architectural Preservation. One of the organizations she joined in her free time (while not playing club soccer, of course) was Temple’s chapter of AIAS Freedom By Design, the community service arm of the American Institute of Architecture Students.
Temple’s AIAS chapter was one of two local colleges that participated in CANstuction 2013, the annual competition tasked with raising as many cans as possible for Philabundance, Philadelphia’s largest food bank, and then constructing a lifelike design from the cans.
The fifteen students in the group proposed a bunch of designs, the most popular of which was a Klondike bar. It took Meghan and her team about four hours to complete the design, probably with the jingle stuck in their heads the whole time! I know it hasn’t gotten out of my head in days! With donations from Giant, Costco, Weis, and other local businesses, Temple raised 600 cans for charity, and all the teams combined raised around 10,000 cans.
Meghan and her classmates took their 600 cans to the Shops at Liberty Place in Center City, Philadelphia, where they met up with the other groups to construct their designs to be judged by the public. The event was billed as “The most unique design & build competition to help end hunger,” and it certainly lived up to that description…just look at these builds! During the 10hrs of building, the architecture firms made Hungry Hungry Hippos, gardens, bowling pins, Batman logos, Rocky Balboa, and even the Liberty Bell! Total can-demonium!
Meghan’s route to becoming Temple Made was far different than mine. While she didn’t even want to look at Temple because I was already a student there, but she couldn’t deny the opportunity to join the incredible architecture program at her disposal, and she’s definitely making the most of that opportunity.
Even though she didn’t win any awards this year, me and my sweet tooth would devour that Klondike bar! Congrats, Sissykins! #CANstructionPHL2013 was quite a success!