How I Got to New Paltz

The journey to get to college, and stay there, isn’t always easy, as these audio slideshows reveal.

FALL 2012

The Striver
Produced by Ricky Hernandez

The Striver
Posted on October 20, 2012
The public school system has failed another student. As a native from Washington Heights, Johnny Lugo attended Landmark High School, an institution known for their lack of effort in educating their students, Lugo said. However, Lugo defeated the odds. He graduated third in his class and was accepted into SUNY New Paltz under the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP). Although he had succeeded in high school, he came to realize that college was no walk in the park.

In this extended audio version, Lugo reflects on his journey from Washington Heights to SUNY New Paltz. He shares details about life in the Heights, his education at New Paltz and what he hopes to achieve before graduating in December.

The Misfit
Produced by Alyssa Haining

Sampson Oppedisano, a second year at New Paltz reflects on the road he took in order to end up at New Paltz. From being denied from his dream school, to ending up being in love with the college he never gave a second thought to in the beginning, Sampson’s story of disappointment and discovery is one many students can relate to.

Listen to the extended version of Sampson’s story:

The Love That Wasn’t
Produced by Matt Mandato

Meet Maria Cassano, a guitar playing, book writing, 20 year old girl. Her story is one that almost all of us can relate to. Imagine losing the potential love of your life due to an internal struggle trying to find out whats best for your own life. Listen to her story, learn about her life, you might just learn a little about your own.

Close your eyes, listen, and learn.

Its okay to open your eyes again. Meet Maria Cassano as she tells her story guided by photography.

The Nomad
Produced by Kelly Fay

Sara Gilley was born in Berkeley, California. At the age of four she left the west coast in a motor home along with her mother and siblings and lived throughout the north eastern United States before settling in West Virginia. During her childhood, Sara’s father was almost completely absent from her life, but things changed when she turned 15 and moved in with him in New York City. She struggled to adjust to the city lifestyle and adapt to her father’s strict parenting style. She describes the tension between them and how the move affected her choice of college. Sara is currently a third-year sociology major at SUNY New Paltz.

The Nomad from Kelly Fay on Vimeo.

Check out the extended audio version to hear more about Sara’s childhood travels and what made her decide to attend SUNY New Paltz.

The Athlete Turned Music Lover
Produced by Alana Blatz

Alessandra Young, a New Jersey native, came to SUNY New Paltz with a one-track mind. She had been a self proclaimed “volleyball chick” for her entire life. Recruited for the college team, she went to preseason only to quit three days in. She spent her time at New Paltz exploring other interests and fell headfirst into the local music scene. Befriending local musicians and attending basement shows pushed her into a new life decision: leaving New Paltz to pursue a career in music business at Bellmont University in Nashville Tennessee. Young’s story is about transformation and overcoming a crippling obstacle: self doubt

Listen to her audio story, then watch the photoslideshow to see the girl behind the transformation.

The Salesman
Produced by Giancarlo Camacho

This is Marlon Ramos’s story on what life was like for him at SUNY New Paltz and the person he saw himself as after earning his degree.

Listen to an extended audio version of Marlon’s story:

The Comedian
Produced by Yoav Katz

Ross Belsky is currently a Senior at SUNY New Paltz. He is an aspiring comedian and musician whose journey began freshman year, when he was enrolled in New Paltz and enjoying a world of stimulating academics, supportive friends and a girlfriend in Queens who visited him every weekend. His decisions to attend SUNY Binghamton the next fall with his girlfriend and pledge a fraternization were the beginning of a year-long cycle of confusion, depression and a total loss of motivation. His story arced when he found salvation through performing stand-up comedy in small clubs across New York City. This process led him to finding his true identity, comedic and otherwise, and returning to New Paltz.

Below is the extended, audio-only interview of Ross Belsky:

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Ross Belsky: The Comedian
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The Transfer Student
By Faith Gimzek

Meet Tanique Williams, a senior journalism major at SUNY New Paltz in New Paltz, New York. Originally from the South Bronx, she moved to her current home in Brooklyn during high school. She transferred to New Paltz from Morrisville State College last fall, searching for a more enriching college experience and more opportunities to excel. Watch her story.

and listen to an extended version:

The Survivor
Produced by Caterina DeGaetano

Suzy Berkowitz, fourth-year Journalism major at New Paltz, tells her story of dealing with Hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a developmental deformity which left her without a left ventricle, and how it affected her journey to New Paltz.

Listen to an extended audio version of Suzy’s story:

The Firefighter
Produced by Lauren Scrudato

J.P. Aponte is a 27-year-old journalism major a SUNY New Paltz. At the end of high school, he became addicted to drugs and lost his drive to succeed. This is his story of overcoming addiction and deciding on a career path.

The DIY Applicant
Produced by Zhen Wen Lin

Growing up in a house with little stability and constant struggle, Matthew D’Agostino longed for the day he would find a place he can call home. Being here at SUNY New Paltz has made him happier and at peace. However, the journey to New Paltz was not a smooth one as Matt basically motivated himself to get here. This is the story of Matthew and his journey:

The Sculptor
Produced by Khynna Kuprian

Ashley Caferro thought she was headed for a career in education, but transferring to New Paltz made her see her future in a whole new way.

The Worker
Produced by Terry Gardner

Take a moment to listen to SUNY New Paltz student, Mary Felice, as she talks about the stress of trying to make ends meet all while attending school. Without any financial aid from her parents, she bit the bullet and gave college a shot.

The Outsider
Produced by Mili Ali

William Kaiser is a current senior at SUNY New Paltz. William had a hard time socializing because his family is always on the move and also because of the abusive relationship he had with certain family members. He suffered from depression and has contemplated many suicide events, in the past. Things for him have changed a lot since he moved to New Paltz.

The Teacher
Produced by Julio Olivencia

After Alex graduated college, he found it difficult to find gainful employment. He opted to come back the SUNY New Paltz for his master’s degree. Here is his story.

The Transfer Student
Produced by Kimberly Locke

Nicole has a busy schedule at work and is taking a full course load. She has faced some difficulties in belonging at SUNY New Paltz, but Nicole was determined to make it. She is now preparing to graduate in August 2012.

The Scholarship Recipient
Produced by Erica Nardella

Jessica Gentile, a sophomore at SUNY New Paltz, had a difficult time paying for her dream school until she received her golden ticket: two scholarships enabling her to go to school without having any debt.

The Baseball Player
Produced by Brendan O’Keefe

Eric Grogin came to New Paltz to be a player on the New Paltz baseball team. After he was injured, his future plans changed in unexpected ways.

The Foster Child

Produced by Alyssa Klein

The Newcomer

Produced by Joe Martindale

The Little Brother 

Produced by Denecia Charles

“Pollo Mario.” Photo. 18 Oct. 2011.

“78 Wicks Rd.” Photo. 18 October 2011.

The Zumba Instructor 

Produced by Claudia Canales

The Striver 
Produced by Jessica Gelbart

The Daughter
Produced by Kelsey Lang

The Purple Belt
Produced by Dylan Gerety

Kevin Dougherty – The Purple Belt from Dylan Gerety on Vimeo.

The Single Mother
Produced by Sarah Fine

The Dreamer
Produced by Lauren Kassel

The Musician
Produced by Adam Morelli

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