Stephen Gaughan, Chief Reporter

By Stephen R. Gaughan, Chief Reporter

Attending Brandeis University

It’s a funny thing, to say ‘goodbye’; it often feels so unnatural, so strange. Perhaps it’s uniquely human, a rite of passage that we alone must complete with every change of the tides. I thought I was ready for college. Ready to bid ado to all the incredible students and faculty I’ve gotten to know, organizations I’ve had the privilege to be a part of, and courses I’ve had the good fortune to study these last four years. The significance of the shift, the finality of it all, only really hit me in March, in the quiet of the night, with some friends. But the clock ticks on, and as I await that great inevitable milestone in my life, both with eagerness for the infinite possibilities beyond, and dread for love of that which I leave behind, I know all I can do is give a few waves, shake a few hands, and exchange a few kind words as the doors to what was — to what has been — such an exciting time in my life, are shut forever.

I couldn’t have chosen a better college for me, and I know that I couldn’t have been better prepared for it. The last four years have allowed me to grow into so much of what I’ve always wanted to be. They’ve taught me always to sift carefully through those opportunities afforded me, and to reach out toward the horizon, toward any that might not be self-evident.

Four years as President of the Political Activist Club, squabbling with friends and peers through topics light and heavy, tense, and ridiculous, taught me that a leader needs to work hard to understand the needs of his constituency, and work with whomever it takes to ensure they are met, and whenever possible, exceeded. We met with so many interesting guests, from both within and beyond the Commack School District, from teachers willing to share insights and experiences, to political officials from across the aisle willing to impart their knowledge, wisdom, and philosophies. And no matter how crazy the idea, or its deliverer, our tireless adviser, Dr. Jeziorski, was always willing to hear it through with much-appreciated sarcasm at the ready. For supporting four years of unceasing buzz and frequent absurdity from the club whose offload you were anticipating before our miniature march into the library at freshman orientation, we thank you, Dr. J.

I joined the Human Rights Club in ninth grade, largely to see and understand for myself the organization into whose establishment and early wellbeing my sister and brother had poured so much effort when they walked these halls, and quickly became invested. For the last four years of years of working to understand, and when possible, ease the suffering of others the world over, thank you Mr. Pope, always the most reasonable and reliable person in the room. And of course, thank you to all my fellow members and officers who gave it their all.

The four-year Latin course, and its adjacent honor society, was throughout my time in high school something of a parallel universe. The material was well beyond the pale of anything else we might learn, with a noticeable difference between the burning villas of Pompeii explored in Latin 1, and the basic words and phrases learned in any other introductory language course. But in the honor society, and when time permitted, in class, conversations, chants, and rants roared with excitement. It was easily, and perhaps ironically there, and not in the Political Activist Club, that I faced my toughest elections, necessitating pointed platforms, backroom deals, and relentless campaigning. For all the fun, and all the lessons about the richness of Greco-Roman culture, history, and language, thank you Ms. Kass.

And here at The Courant, whether I was holding the pen or not, I got to channel my excitement about it all, while learning more, building on my writing skills, and learning the perspectives of others. From my point-counterpoints about the Electoral College and Washington, DC statehood with Peter K., to my articles about inflation and redistricting, I worked with, and more importantly, learned from others in attempting to provide overall balanced pieces. It was often tough, but always worth it. I only wish there had been time for more. Thank you Mrs. Semple, for your unyielding commitment to good journalism, and to all of my fellow Couranteers, and for always pushing me to be a better writer and journalist.

Finally, thank you to my guidance counselor, Ms. Iacopelli, for your always-open door, and willingness to respond to my every email, no matter the time, day, or frequency, to ensure that I found the right path. Thank you to all my teachers, past and present, for imparting your knowledge, wisdom, and trust in me. Thank you to all my classmates — my friends — for four incredible years that I wouldn’t have given for the world.

So here, at last, I say goodbye. Or perhaps, only, until next time.🔳