Alumni Gather to Remember Immaculata Academy

After 92 years Immaculata Academy stands no more.

The private, all girls, Catholic High School in Hamburg New York closed its doors for the last time in June 2016. Last year the property was sold to Developer Anthony Cutaia through The Oaks at South Park LLC. In January 2020 demolition of the school began, making room for the apartments/condominiums that will be built on the land.

A small group of Immaculata Alumni visited the construction site to collect a brick to keep as memorabilia. Two of these Immaculata Alumni shared memories from their time at the school.

“We had some really great times.” said class of 1973 Alumni, Kathy Clark.

Clark and her friend, Linda Miller-Bolt, who also graduated from the school in 1973, agreed that their time at IA was overall a “good experience”.

“There were some clicks but really no bullying.” said Miller-Bolt. “Class sizes were about thirty students and we all stayed together with our homeroom freshman year so we didn’t interact with many other girls until sophomore year and even then everyone got along for the most part.”

“My least favorite part of the school would be the nuns,” Clark joked.

Although the nuns could be strict and mean at times, Clark and Miller-Bolt say the experience wasn’t all bad. “One memory I would say I enjoyed was the Father-Daughter Socials.” said Clark. “Every year was a different theme and there was a talent show and a dance. The Fathers loved it.”

Miller-Bolt added that her favorite memory was cheerleading.

“It might be hard for you to believe.” she joked, “I enjoyed cheerleading and I also enjoyed the dances at St. Francis (a nearby private all boys High School still open today).”

Both Alumni agreed that the best part of going to Immaculata was the friends they made.

“I think all the friendships we made were fantastic.” said Clark.

Although the building won’t be around anymore these Alumni will at least have the bricks and the memories to remember it by.

“We still stay in touch and hold many reunions for our friends and classmates.” said Miller-Bolt.

Miller-Bolt said the demolition represents the end of an era.

“No other girls will get to make their own memories there,” she said. “Regardless of whether it could have been saved or not, it’s gone now and it is sad.”

Hilbert Lacrosse Player’s Packed Schedule

It’s a Monday morning and the sun hasn’t risen yet. Travis Kilaknowski rolls over to turn off the alarm on his iPhone as the clock strikes 4:45 a.m. He jumps out of bed, heads to his kitchen and begins to pack his lunch for the day while he drinks a morning cup of coffee. He walks back into his room, grabs his green Army issued duffle bag, looks at his phone as it the clock strikes 5 a.m. and heads out to start his day. Kilaknowski is on his way to physical training, known as PT in Army jargon, just the start to his 14-hour day.

Kilaknowski is a sophomore at Hilbert College where  he is on the Men’s Lacrosse team, has above a 3.0 grade point average, and is a part of the Reserve Officer Training Corps program as well as assigned to a unit in the army.

There are 20,000 ROTC Cadets in the USA, less than 20% play an NCAA sport, putting Travis in a very exclusive group.

“Time management was definitely the hardest skill to master during all of this,” Kilaknowski said.

He finds himself doing homework in his 20 minutes of free time between responsibilities, waking up at 4:45 am and not returning home until 7 or 8 p.m. and knowing there is a four page paper that still needs to be completed. And he knows he needs to be asleep early to attend duties in the morning.

His efforts are recognized by his coach, Michael Carberry.

“Travis has had the highest grade point average on our team almost every single semester,” Carberry said. “His work ethic and determination is something we could all learn from”

Kilaknowski knows that it also important to try to make time to have fun and decompress, he said.

“Saturday nights are nights I normally get to hang out with my friends, but I try to spend that time doing work to get ahead of the next weeks schedule,” Kilaknowski said. “I knew what I signed up for so finding enjoyment in the grind is what has helped me get by.”

Kilaknowski finds fulfillment knowing he accomplished everything he needed to for that week, he said.

“Before each week I try to make a checklist of everything I need to finish before I can enjoy my time to myself,” Kilaknowski said. “When I see all the boxes checked off I find fulfillment and pride in knowing, Wow I really did it.”

Organization skills and being prepared for the upcoming tasks is a huge part of time management, Kiliknowski said.

“When I know what needs to be done and have all my ducks in order it relieves stress and makes the journey easier,” Kilaknowski said. “When I don’t have my checklist filled out it’s like a chicken running around with its head cut off.”

Carberry said Kilaknowski is often the hardest working member of the team during practices, despite having so many other responsibilities.

“Sometimes we have to ask him to turn it down a notch but he just doesn’t have that switch in him,” his coach said.

But to Kilaknowski, all the extra effort is worth it in the end, he said.

“I signed up for this so how could I complain if I put myself here?”

 

Phillips and Martineau Reflect on Four Years of Hilbert Basketball

Hunter Martineau and Masia Phillips are both four year Hilbert men’s basketball team members. The two guards came in together as freshmen, both far away from their homes, and built a bond right here in Hamburg. Phillips, who is from Queens in New York City, has made a name for himself with the program. He is well accomplished in the sport having scored over 1,000 points and received all conference honors. Phillips, a program great, is Top 10 in ten of the program’s statistical categories.

Martineau, a modest kid from Erie, Pennsylvania, has also left his mark on program history. Hunter accumulated 1,000 points over his career and now sits at the top in assists for Hilbert’s basketball program. Hunter isn’t new to awards and acknowledgement, he has received all conference honors all 4 years and was once named team MVP. What’s even more impressive than that, while being a beast on the court, he is also a beast in the classroom. Hunter was inducted into the Chi Alpha Sigma National Honor Society.

The Scribe reached out to both Phillips and Martineau to talk about their experiences with the program and also the community surrounding the school. In addition, we got to hear about the hardships they faced, the brotherhood that was formed, and a little sneak peek into their future endeavors.

The Scribe: Masia, you grew up in New York City, the mecca of basketball. Can you explain how basketball was a part of your early life and how it moved you forward as a person?

Masia Phillips: My older siblings and cousins all played basketball. I got to grow up watching them play. As I got older, I just got into it around 6 years old. I was playing in a house ball coached by my mother. I started meeting friends through basketball and continued that through middle and high school, and college. That’s why I love the game so much.

TS: Hunter, amongst other things, you are known by your incredible self-discipline and willpower. Can you tell us how basketball helped you develop self-discipline and do you use that skill in your everyday life?

martineau_lay_up

Courtesy of Hilbert College Athletics

Hunter Martineau: Basketball taught me self-discipline, if you want to be the best, you have to train like the best. You have discipline yourself to get up every day, get in the gym, get in the weight room. You can use that discipline to do homework, getting up and going to class.

TS: What can you guys tell us about playing for Hilbert? How difficult was the transition from high school to college?

MP: The transition was pretty tough, the game is much faster, much more you need to learn.

HM: The transition for me personally was a bit different. My high school had 4,000 students, Hilbert is only pushing 1,000 if that. Some of the high schools had teams that were just as competitive, but the games were slower because Florida schools don’t have a shot clock, it was a different game. (Masia) I think there was more competition in high school because everyone plays together, there are teams with multiple Division 1 talent.

TS: For Your tenure on the team, you have seen players come and go. What has helped you two to stay focused and committed to the program for 4 years.

HM: My family loves to watch me play, if I was quitting on myself, I was also quitting on them as well. At the same time, my passion for the game, I don’t think I would ever quit unless it’s for dire circumstances.

MP: I had lots of thoughts of leaving the program, but I always had my family to keep me in a space where I can forget about it and just play. If it wasn’t for my family or the love I have for the game, the story would’ve been different.

TS: How do you guys balance being a student athlete?

HM: I try not to save everything for the last minute, whether it’s homework, you want to get shots up, or spending time with your significant others.

MP: I just try my best to know and remember my schedule.

TS: Are the accomplishments something you guys set out for? How did you balance personal goals and team goals?

HM: I’m not much of a scorer, so the 1,000 points is something that I never set out to do, but was pretty cool. I’ve always been a passer, it wasn’t a goal of mine, but I saw it happening if I played well. Those records really don’t mean much, you never want to let them get to your head.

MP: In high school, I never got to the 1,000 points. That kind of bothered me because I was a 4 year varsity player. It was personal for me to get 1,000 points, but that never got in the way of goals that the team had.

TS: What can you guys say about the brotherhood formed with teammates and the relationships built with classmates?

HM: I’m very fortunate for all the guys that have come through here. I truly believe that there were mostly good guys that came through. The amount of friendships and relationships I have built is the reason why you come to a small school like this.

MP: Being on a sports team, you get to know people real quick and people get to know you real quick.

TS: Why did you guys pick Hilbert?

HM: I’m from Erie, Pa (Lived in Orlando for 9 years where he played high school ball), the school isn’t too far, I have good support nearby, and it seemed like a good fit.

MP: The biggest city in the nation has a lot of problems sometimes. I just wanted to get away from home, and challenge myself to be on my own.

TS: Having lived here for four years, what can you say about life in WNY? Is there a possibility of you coming back?

MP: Buffalo is a calm city, I like it. It’s not that big of a rush, no crazy night life. Definitely not what I’m used to, but I got used to it. I don’t know if i can start my life after college here, but I’ll definitely come back and visit.

HM: Buffalo is a great city. It’s actually very similar to earlier where I grew up. As long as there’s an airport that can connect me back home to Orlando, I’ll always consider Buffalo as a second home. Bills fans are very passionate, and I love Buffalo wings.

TS: What are your future plans for education and basketball? Is it over?

HM:  For me at least, I think my basketball career in a competitive sense is over. I’ll be doing mens league and coaching but I’m done. I plan on working my way up to an athletic director.

MP: Basketball wise, as of right now is over, I’ll still be playing here and there. I want to become a risk analyst, I also want to work for the city of New York.

 

Jezioro: The Bills’ Big Offseason

With the NFL Draft approaching, the Buffalo Bills do not have a first round pick as of right now. That’s because they made a blockbuster trade that reverberated around the league, acquiring one of the best receivers in the league. Let’s take a look at that trade and the other moves the team has made so far.

Stefon Diggs

This is the biggest acquisition in the offseason for the Bills. Buffalo finally got what they desperately needed, a true number one wide receiver. Last season, Diggs had a great year with the Minnesota Vikings. He had 63 receptions, caught six touchdown passes and recorded 1,130 yards. To get Diggs, the Bills gave up their first, fifth, and sixth round pick in this years draft. They also gave up their seventh round pick in 2020 and a fourth round pick in 2021. While it was a haul, I think it’s worth it. You have a proven talented receiver in Diggs and on top of that, a good wide receiver core. Along with John Brown and Cole Beasley, quarterback Josh Allen has an amazing opportunity to prove that he is the franchise QB for Buffalo. The speed that Diggs has is amazing and I can’t wait for him to utilize it as a Bill.

Josh Norman

I like this deal for the team. It’s a one year deal for the former Redskins cornerback and if he can play like the shutdown corner he was in Carolina, this signing is a home run for Bills General Manager Brandon Beane. Last season, Norman had only one interception. I have a feeling that he will have a better season with the Bills playing opposite Pro-Bowler Tre’Davious White as the starting corner. Buffalo also has a much more talented core than Washington. I feel like Norman won’t have to feel pressured considering he doesn’t have to cover the best receiver on the opposing team every single play during a game.

Mario Addison

I absolutely love this signing by the Bills. The defensive end had 34 tackles and 9.5 sacks with the Carolina Panthers last year. With Buffalo losing defensive end Shaq Lawson in free agency, Addison is a great replacement for Lawson. He can also play linebacker but I think he’ll spend most of his time playing DE. Adding to an already dangerous defensive line, this is a good signing.

Quinton Spain

Bringing back Spain was a great decision by Beane. Last year, he did not allow a single sack all season. That is unheard of in a league full of great defensive players who can get to the QB. The offensive line was inconsistent last season but Spain was fantastic and I’m pumped the Bills brought him back.

The time is now for the Bills to not only win the division, but finally win a playoff game. They had a great chance to win against the Texans in last year’s wildcard game, but it didn’t end up the way they wanted to. As for Allen, no excuses. He has some dangerous weapons and Diggs should help him out.

All stats are from NFL.com and the details from the Diggs trade is credited to WGR550.com.

Hilbert Community Mourns Student

The Hilbert community has been in mourning over the death of sophomore Brittnay Summers. The criminal justice major passed away in a car accident on March 31st, and her sudden death has left a shock to those at Hilbert who knew her.

“She had a smile, and was just so fun,” said her advisor, English professor Megan Witzleben. “She found her way in class, and I think embraced the idea of always striving and looking for opportunities to better herself.”

Witzleben served both as Brittnay’s advisor, as well as her English 102 professor.

“There was a unit on the British romantics, and she thought it was too far removed from her life,” Witzleben said. “But then I pointed out to her that these were people who took common speech and made it poetic. And suddenly, she loved that idea; she always had her own spin on the material, and it made it fun for all of us.”

Brittnay was always proud of her work as a security guard, holding positions both at New Era Field, and at Canalside. Brittnay had aspirations of furthering a law enforcement career either here in New York, or down south in Florida.

In a time where students are not physically together, mourning and remembering Brittany has to take a different approach for now.

“Certainly writing about her,” said Witzleben. “Writing, in a way, keeps people alive. For example with poetry, they think about how you memorialize those who have passed on through writing about them, telling stories about them, and remembering that they count and they matter. Whether they are here with us physically, or with their spirit.”

Students have been taking to writing, with junior Danny Ostroski writing the following on the tribute wall on Brittnay’s obituary page:

“I wish I was able to get to know you better. I was really looking forward to going back to school and seeing your beautiful and radiant smile that brightened my day by so much every day. You were so so sweet and a literal angel, and you always ever looked happy when I passed you in the hallways. Rest easy sweetheart, you will forever be in my heart and on my mind. We’ll miss you so much.”

Hilbert College President, Michael Brophy, told The Scribe that once campus activities resume following the COVID-19 pandemic, the school has plans to more formally memorialize her.

“The college was represented at her memorial, but only two folks could go as only ten total are allowed to be there with the virus going around,” said Brophy. “But we did promise her parents that once everything is back up and normal, we’ll have a proper memorial on campus. [The family] also requested that we plant a tree on campus in her memory, and we’ll be really happy to do that as well.”

As the community continues to mourn from afar, Margaret Smith, vice president for mission integration and campus ministry, offers some wise words.

“It’s tempting to get swept away by fear and darkness when so many things seem to be falling apart around us,” Smith said. “This is where our faith kicks in. Christian hope isn’t an emotion: it’s a virtue that takes practice and hard work. It is a decision, made over and over again, to turn to light and to trust in God when things are difficult.”

From the Editor: Mourning From Afar

Last week the Scribe and the Hilbert community lost one of its own.

Brittnay Summers, a sophomore Criminal Justice major, passed away in a car accident on March 31, leaving a void in a campus community, unable to mourn in the traditional sense, separated in an effort to stop others from dying.

I first met Brittnay at the beginning of the semester, mere months ago. Constantly smiling, she was shy at first. But once you got her talking she exuded confidence and happily added to the conversation. She was excited to work on her first story, covering the Digital Media and Communications department’s career fair, and with a little push from myself went around the room conducting interviews, learning on the fly, as is so often the case with people first dipping their toes in the journalistic waters.

She was a natural, her warmth and kindness opening people up to get them talking.

She worked for a security company that contracts with the Buffalo Bills, and was excited by the prospect of scoring an interview with a player for the paper.

And she was always looking to pitch in or help others. When another student mentioned she was looking for work after graduation, Brittnay excitedly offered to get her in with the security company.

For now, we must celebrate her life and mourn her loss from afar. None of the warm embraces, handshakes or fellowship that would normally comfort our community are available. We can’t bond over food, offering stories, and engaging in the deep human connection that is felt while looking one another in the eye.

But that does not mean we cannot honor Brittnay and everything she did to make Hilbert a better place. As a Franciscan institution, it is important that we look to our Catholic roots for guidance in this time of sorrow.

Margaret Smith, Hilbert’s vice president for mission integration and campus ministry, points out that Christians have a long tradition of using prayer and good works as gifts to be sent to one another across time and space.

“A small prayer or sacrifice that I send up to God will be efficacious to someone that I may not be able to see or communicate with,” she said. “So, when someone far from us is hurting, and we cannot be with them physically, we can still join them in this supernatural place outside of time and space, where we are united in God.”

Smith said that one way we can honor Brittnay is by trying to live her unyielding, never-give-up spirit out in our own lives.

“It’s tempting to get swept away by fear and darkness when so many things seem to be falling apart around us,” Smith said. “This is where our faith kicks in. Christian hope isn’t an emotion: it’s a virtue that takes practice and hard work. It is a decision, made over and over again, to turn to light and to trust in God when things are difficult.”

So, as we remember Brittnay from afar, rest assured that we will celebrate her with the same exuberance she brought to our campus whenever it is that we are able to gather together again. Plans are already in the works for a memorial service.

Last week, as part of her call for Britons to stay strong in adhering to social distancing measures, Queen Elizabeth invoked the song “We’ll Meet Again,” a World War II anthem, to build a spirit of solidarity.

I hope we can extend that sentiment to one another, and to Brittnay, as we deal with this tragedy. If you are feeling distraught or desperate in these coming weeks and months, think of Brittnay’s smiling face and sing those hopeful lyrics to yourself.

We’ll meet again. Don’t know where. Don’t know when. But I know we’ll meet again some sunny day.”

– Justin Sondel

 

Scholarships Available for Returning Students

Hilbert College is offering some financial relief to returning students in response to the coronavirus pandemic that has upended lives across the globe.

The school, which converted all classes to distance learning through the summer in an effort slow the spread of the virus, is offering $1,000 scholarships to any returning students who register for the fall semester by April 15.

“We recognize the financial hardship this unprecedented situation has caused throughout the nation.” said Matt Heidt, Hilbert’s Director of Marketing and Communications.“We are trying to do everything we can to help our current students continue their education.”

Hiedt said that reimbursements will be automattically applied to fall semester tuition bills.

“No extra paperwork or application is required,” he said.

While students say they are appreciative of the money, some feel it isn’t enough.

Dylan Timmel, a junior going into his senior year at Hilbert College, has already registered for next semester.

“It helps a little but personally I feel students need more than $1,000,” he said.

Timmel said the amount just doesn’t make up for what he has lost.

“I feel the online classes are not offering me the full experience of the face to face classes which I had paid for,” he said.

In response to student’s concerns about the scholarship amount, Hilbert’s president, Dr. Michael Brophy, said they are continuing to ask students what they need to deal with the drastic changes brought on by the pandemic.

“We will work with all students returning if they need additional help for sure,” Brophy said. “We have to make sure it all adds up for students and the College.”

Heidt said students who are concerned about being able to afford next semester should contact the financial aid office for additional support.

“Our financial aid office is open and here to help,” Heidt said. “Please reach out to financialaid@hilbert.edu to explore all the options available to you.”

Advice: How to avoid the back pack blues

We live in an era when technology and the internet are gradually replacing actual books. However, textbooks are still prevalent and with them, book bags.

The heavy textbooks, laptop and loads of paper, all shoved into one backpack weighing on your back all day can make for an exhausting experience and cause pain.

Hilbert freshman Heather Gerken said she endures back pain on a daily basis.

She has started to visit a chiropractor due to back pain caused by the backpack she carries throughout the day.

“Backpacks hurt your shoulders,” Gerken said. “I feel like I’m very hunched. I feel like I slouch, but I also feel like I’m hunched all the time. It’s just heavy and it just like pulls your shoulders down.”

Gerken said that she had to carry a backpack in high school also, but not as much as she does now.

“For college I was like no way am I spending like $60 on a nice backpack,” she said. “I’ve had this since like sophomore year and actually it’s okay, but oh my god it’s really thin and it pulls on you.”

Gerken said she wishes she spent more money on a better backpack.

“I would definitely try some stretches at home to prevent my pain,” she added.

Lauren Orynawka, who has earned her doctorate in physical therapy, said backpacks cause problems for many of her patients.

“A heavy backpack pushes down on the shoulders and shoulder blades putting them in an incorrect postural position that can lead to scapular winging, spine curve known as thoracic kyphosis and the improper use of certain musculature,” Orynawka said.

The cause of this pain is the poor posture students have as a result, she added.

“Poor posture leads to the tendons, muscles and ligaments to be overused causing pain,” Orynawka said.

Orynawka treats patients with back pain almost every day and knows exactly how to prevent and treat it.

“A person who is suffering from back pain needs to learn how to properly stretch and strengthen,” she said. “Modifying how often you carry the backpack or even the weight of it can decrease back pain.”