Junior George Pinchok is going home to Philadelphia after classes end tomorrow, but he plans on returning to Notre Dame early so he can take advantage of the relative quiet on campus to get a head start on his class work. Hackner and 10 of her friends are renting two condos in Isla Verde, Puerto Rico for the week. She said she has been looking forward to the trip since they planned it before the beginning of winter break. “It’s a training trip so we’ll just go there and practice two or three times a day, every day,” Baffa said. “I’m coming back here early to have some time to myself,” Pinchok said. “I’m excited to be back early because then I’ll have motivation from being home and I’ll use the time wisely.” Halloran said she has wanted to sign up for Appalachia since freshman year, but had never gotten the chance to do so before. “I’m really excited to just lay out and tan, but the weather forecast says it’s supposed to rain a lot next week,” Perone said. “I hope it doesn’t rain. If it does, I’ll be outraged.”Some students are counting on a more low-key spring break than Hackner and Perone are sure to have. Once she arrives in Puerto Rico, Hackner said her top priorities are unpacking, finding out where the beach and bars are, and buying plenty of Pop Tarts to eat for breakfast.Senior Michelle Perone will join Hackner in Puerto Rico. She said she is also looking forward to spending time with her friends, as well as for the chance to spend time on the beach swimming and tanning. “This is my last chance to really spend time with my friends before we’re all separated next year,” Hackner said. “I’m just really excited to get away from the stress of our last semester and just relax.” Other students plan on immersing themselves in service over the weeklong break. Junior Katie Halloran will be participating in Notre Dame’s Appalachia Program and traveling to West Virginia to work at Community Development Outreach Ministries (CDOM) in West Virginia. Freshman Patty Walsh will also be returning home for Spring Break. “Service is part of my Christian identity,” Halloran said. “I’ll have plenty of chances to go to tropical places, but after I graduate, it won’t be as easy to find service opportunities as it is at Notre Dame.” “I’m going back home to Chicago,” Walsh said. “I’m going to see some friends and get a lot of sleep. That’s basically all I’ve got planned right now.” Sophomore James Baffa’s Spring Break will likely not be as low-key as Walsh’s or Pinchok’s. He will be traveling to Tennessee with the men’s crew team. “I’ve always seen the little fliers around campus,” Halloran said. “It’s always attracted me and I’m running out of semesters so I thought I should take advantage of the opportunity.”Although she will not be spending her week relaxing in the tropics or at home, Halloran said she does not regret choosing a more strenuous spring break activity. Spring Break holds different meanings for different Notre Dame students. Some view it as an opportunity to jet off to tropical locales, while others use it to participate in service projects — and some simply jump at the chance to return home for a week of relaxation after midterms.For senior Michelle Hackner, Spring Break is a chance to spend some quality time with her friends before the real world sends them all to different places.
When Notre Dame vocal instructor Deborah Mayer caught word of an audition opportunity with the New York Metropolitan Opera, she had one week’s notice to make her lifelong dream a reality. Mayer, who teaches voice lessons at the University, will perform the role of Gerhilde in “Die Walkure”this spring. The opera is part of German composer Richard Wagner’s “Ring Cycle,” which Mayer said the Opera is performing in its entirety this spring to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Wagner’s birth. “My manager told me they needed someone to fill a particular role that was being vacated, so I prepared the music with a week’s notice,” Mayer said. “It was one of those things where someone says ‘jump’ and all you can say is ‘okay, how high?’ It was nerve-wracking.” Mayer, a soprano, had auditioned for the Met in the past, but said this honor is a unique and exciting moment in her career. “Anytime that any singer has the honor to sing something of Richard Wagner’s, that’s quite exciting,” Mayer said. “What young girl doesn’t want to sing at the Metropolitan Opera? I feel like I’ve been waiting for the Met my whole life.” Mayer said she spent 10 years training and performing in Europe before coming to South Bend to continue her career as a teacher. This rendition of the Ring Cycle is more modern than most, according to Mayer, and the logistical challenges of the stage and set will be unlike anything she has previously encountered. “The big issue with this production is the new set – it’s sort of like big teeter-totters, where the whole floor moves and hydraulics are involved and there are computerized productions and all,” Mayer said. “There will be a lot of climbing and movement, and the show really will be built around the set.” Another major challenge will be endurance and stamina, since “Die Walkure” is a four-and-a-half hour opera. Mayer said her personal preparation includes hours of working out and training physically for the role, which includes choreography stylistically comparable to that of Cirque du Soleil. “They’ve been clear with this interpretation of the ‘Ring Cycle’ and actually with opera in general that it’s all becoming much more visual,” Mayer said. “Everyone needs to be fit. They want everyone to look a certain way on stage.” Mayer said the Wagner Ring Cycle can be thought of as a story with four chapters, in which “Die Walkure”is the second and most widely-recognized. Typically, each chapter is presented as its own evening performance, with a single Cycle performed over four days. The show will open in April, and the ‘Ring Cycle’ will be performed in its entirety three times over three weeks. Mayer will be able to fly back and forth between New York and Indiana to continue teaching throughout the performance run. She said she makes a priority of sharing her stage experiences with her students to prepare them for future careers in performance. “There are things you can only learn and teach to your students by being on your feet, on the stage,” Mayer said. “It’s interesting, because [the other Met performers] are people whose careers I’ve been watching for 10 or 15 years as a student myself, and it is a great honor to share the stage with them this spring.”
The annual Keenan Revue will be held this weekend at Stepan Center, and senior producer Brian Ward said this year’s lineup is better and more hilarious than ever. Ward, who organized the Revue alongside senior director Tyler Gregory, said Keenan Hall’s trademark show is “truly the No. 1 event on campus.” To avoid any past censorship issues from resurfacing, Gregory said they worked with the Office of Student Affairs to collaborate beforehand. “We have made extra efforts this year to make sure we will not have problems,” Gregory said. “We met with Amy Geist, the assistant director of the Office of Student Affairs, and went over all the content to make sure it is appropriate.” The theme of this year’s show is “Much Revue About Nothing,” a reference to the Shakespeare play “Much Ado About Nothing,” Ward said. “The actual Shakespeare play is all about issues coming to light,” Ward said. “We are doing the same thing with Notre Dame and bringing issues on campus to light in a funny way.” The show is staffed completely by Keenan residents and has been in the works since October, according to Ward. Auditions took place at the beginning of the semester for the lineup of comedy skits and various musical acts that Ward described as similar to Saturday Night Live. Typically, the three performances draw about 4,500 audience members in total. “The audition process took place all on one Saturday,” Ward said. “We auditioned all the skits, and then had review meeting and picked 25 for the actual show.” In addition, Ward and Gregory issued a constitution to all participants that provided guidelines on the appropriate level of humor and also held a panel that reviewed all the skits’ content specifically to ensure it was appropriate. Ward and Gregory said the content might surprise some audience members but won’t disappoint anyone. “People are expecting there to be a lot of Manti jokes, but that is not something we focused on this year,” Ward said. “We actually included a lot of self-defacing humor, so we are able to poke fun at other things. We also have a ton of talented musicians in the show.” Ward said the show takes thousands of dollars to put on because professional lighting technicians and stage crew are hired to work the performances. Keenan alumni donate money to run the show every year. “Everyone should come out and see the greatest show on campus,” Ward said. “We sold out our tickets in 45 minutes, but if anyone wants to go and does not have a ticket, stop by at show time and we may have an extra for you.”
Groups at Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s are working hard to make sure that this year, El DÃa de los Muertos, a traditional Mexican holiday of remembrance for the dead, is a day to remember in every sense. Fr. Joe Corpora, associate director of Latino Student Ministry, said El DÃa de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, is a traditional Mexican holiday recognized from Oct. 31 through Nov. 2. He said the holiday is celebrated by erecting altars and decorating them with traditional items, as well as with mementos and pictures of the deceased relatives one wishes to remember. “It is believed that the spirits of the dead visit their families on Oct. 31 and leave on Nov. 1,” Corpora said. “Families make altars and place ofrendas, or offerings, of food, such as pan de muerto [sweet rolls], in the shapes of skulls and figures, candles, incense, yellow marigolds, and a photo of the departed soul on the altar. “It is a day to celebrate, remember and prepare special foods in honor of those who have died. On this day in Mexico, the streets near the cemeteries are filled with decorations, flowers, candy skeletons and skulls and parades.” Corpora said DÃa de los Muertos has become representative of Mexican culture in many ways, in particular a perspective in Mexican culture that is not shared by American culture. “The celebration is becoming as cultural as it is religious. Even though it is rooted in the Catholic tradition of all souls day, non-Catholics celebrate it all the time,” he said. “In his book, “Days of Obligation – An Argument with my Mexican Father,” Richard Rodriguez writes of four ways that the Anglo culture and the Mexican culture are fundamentally different at the core. One of these, Rodriguez writes, is that for Anglos, death is an event outside of life. For Mexicans, death is an event inside of life,” Corpora said. At Notre Dame the Institute for Latino Studies is sponsoring three DÃa de los Muertos events, senior Briana Cortez, president of Mariachi ND, said. The first event was a dedication of an artist’s ofrenda, a decorated memorial altar, to Martin Luther King Jr. on Oct. 16 at the Notre Dame Center for Arts and Culture. The second event was at the Civil Rights Heritage Center in South Bend on Oct. 25 and featured another artist’s ofrenda. The final event is a presentation on the history of Dia de los Muertos and a blessing of the Institute for Latino Studies’ ofrenda by Corpora today at 4 p.m. in the Julian Samora Library on the second floor of McKenna Hall, Cortez said. La Fuerza, a club representing Latina culture at Saint Mary’s, has organized an event for each day this week, sophomore Cinthya Gutierrez, secretary of La Fuerza, said. On Monday they set-up and decorated a traditional ofrenda altar, on Tuesday they decorated sugar skulls, on Wednesday they held a bilingual mass in Le Mans Chapel and explained the history of DÃa de los Muertos, on Thursday they created colorful sawdust carpets – a tradition in Mexico and Nicaragua. Today they are cosponsoring a poetry presentation with the Saint Mary’s Spanish Club from 12 to 12:30 p.m. in the Dining Hall and offering face painting from 8 to 9 p.m. also in the Dining Hall, Gutierrez said. Corpora said while this is his fourth year at Notre Dame, it his first year celebrating DÃa de los Muertos on campus. Corpora said he is excited to be a part of the celebration and sees it as a way to preserve tradition and acknowledge humanity. “I think it’s really important to preserve cultural traditions and religious traditions. Any way I can be involved in doing that, I will be,” he said. “It’s important to remember the dead. We’re all going to die, it’s only a matter of time, and it’s nothing to be afraid of. I want to support things that make people more human, and recognizing death makes us more human.” Cortez said Mariachi ND performed at the Oct. 16 Dia de los Muertos event but will not be performing today. She said Mariachi music is often an important part of celebrating the holiday. “Having a mariachi playing during the celebrations is pretty common,” Cortez said. It is a way that people are able to remember and celebrate the lives of those who have passed on. Our music is a way to celebrate this.” Gutierrez said the most popular Dia de los Muertos event at Saint Mary’s thus far was decorating sugar skulls on Tuesday in the Student Center atrium. She said all La Fuerza’s events have drawn a mixture of La Fuerza members and other Saint Mary’s students, especially the bilingual mass where the majority of attendees were not La Fuerza members. Celebrating DÃa de los Muertos is important to La Fuerza as a means of exposing the Saint Mary’s community to their heritage, Gutierrez said. “We have to show campus our culture. A lot of the girls didn’t know what little stuff like the altar and the skulls meant. It’s not just an object, it has meaning behind it. It was great to be able to share that.” Gutierrez said DÃa de los Muertos is an important holiday for her and her family, even though the celebration is different now that they live in the United States. “It’s a time where I’m able to remember my past relatives. In my family it’s a very important holiday, even though we don’t do as much here as when we were in Mexico, Gutierrez said. “We would get together to celebrate and we would visit the cemetery to remember our relatives. Here [in the U.S.] we go to mass and remember them in that way.” Corpora said the holiday has significance for him as a day to remember his mother, who died about ten years ago. “There’s a Mexican proverb that says ‘You only die when people no longer remember you,’ so we need to remember those who have gone before,” he said. “I think about my mother every day, but especially around a day like this. We need specific days to make us remember what is important to us.” Cortez said she values the holiday as a way to celebrate the lives of deceased family members. “This day was one in which my family were able to remember family members who had passed on. We were able to remember the good times that we were able to share with these individuals,” she said. “This day holds a special place in my heart because it reminds us to never forget through the celebration of their lives.” Contact Christian Myers at firstname.lastname@example.org
Notre Dame theology professor emeritus William Storey died Thursday at the age of 90 after a brief illness, according to a report in the South Bend Tribune.Storey came to Notre Dame in 1967 to teach in the then-new doctoral program in liturgical studies, and in 1968 he developed an undergraduate program for majors in theology, the report stated. He retired in 1985 but directed doctoral students in liturgy until 1988.Before coming to Notre Dame, Storey taught in the department of history at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Penn., where he specialized in Medieval History and served as department chair for six years. The report stated that he was an activist in interracial affairs concerned with the Vietnam War and the beginning of the Catholic Pentecostal Movement.His former wife Elaine Curry, with whom he had seven children, five grandchildren and one great-grandchild, preceded Storey in death. After a 1977 divorce, he spent the rest of his life with his partner Philip Howland Schatz, the report stated.Following his retirement, Storey became part owner of Erasmus Books in South Bend with Schatz, according to the report, and continued his career publishing a series of prayer books.A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Friday at 6 p.m. at St. Hedwig Catholic Church in South Bend. Visitation will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. that day in the church with a dinner following the Mass.Donations made in Storey’s memory may be sent to Church World Service in Elkhart or St. Margaret’s House in South Bend. Tags: Professor death, William Storey
Students and faculty who attended this year’s Notre Dame Student Peace Conference, an annual, student-run event, gathered Friday in the Hesburgh Center Auditorium to hear the keynote address from Gillian Kitley, the senior officer in the United Nations (UN) Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect.Kitley said despite receiving increased support from the international community in recent years, the UN still faces considerable challenges in attempting to prevent and prosecute genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.“Why is it that we still face so many situations where so many people’s lives are put at risk?” she asked the audience. “Why is there still so much suffering for so many populations around the world? And what more can we do now to improve the situation, to improve the international community’s ability and will to respond more quickly and more effectively when we see the risks?”Kitley said she first became interested in these questions during her early years growing up in the African Great Lakes region, which includes Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. The region has a long history of violent conflict, she said.Since joining the UN in 1993, Kitley said she has witnessed significant changes in the field of peacekeeping and conflict resolution, including the creation of her current office in 2004. Kofi Annan created the Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect as the Secretary General of the UN at the time, and during the 2005 World Summit, all UN member states pledged to defend their populations against genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.Unfortunately, she said, the UN continues to meet the resistance of many countries who are viewed as particularly at-risk for genocide.“Preventing atrocities is difficult and demanding, and even if we have limitless enthusiasm, consensus and resources, it would still likely prove impossible to prevent every atrocity,” she said. “So we have to be realistic.“We have to accept that there are limits to the influence that outsiders can wield.”Kitley said a further complication of the issue is that many states view UN peacekeeping efforts as a threat to their political authority.“States are never going to be enthusiastic about endorsing limits on their sovereignty,” she said.But state noncooperation is not the only challenge encountered by UN officials. Kitley said limited funds and resources, difficulties in achieving justice in the aftermath of violence and the participation in conflicts of non-state actors — such as armed militant groups like the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and multinational corporations — all present obstacles to the success of UN initiatives.Dealing with non-state actors is particularly difficult, she said, because they refuse to engage with the UN and often have superior resources and technology.“Non-state actors like the so-called ISIS present new challenges,” Kitley said. “These are groups that are intent on holding territory rather than carrying out guerilla attacks. They have no interest in negotiating with us, they have no interest in international law, they run a sophisticated media recruitment campaign — very media savvy, much more than we are.”Nevertheless, Kitley said it is important to maintain hope, because she said, “for all these challenges, there are solutions.”“We have a growing international community which is committed to tackling these problems,” she said.Kitley said among the efforts made by the international community to combat genocide and violent conflict is the research being done by academic institutions such as Notre Dame into the sources of violence and effective methods of conflict resolution.“We really appreciate the effort that goes into this research, and I know that this University is one of the universities that has been doing some really important work,” she said.Tags: Gillian Kitley, keynote speaker, Notre Dame, Student Peace Conference, United Nations
This Wednesday from 7 p.m. to 8:15 p.m., U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor will be at the Leighton Concert Hall in the DeBartolo Performing Art’s Center addressing issues and questions brought up by members of the Notre Dame community. NBC News correspondent Anne Thompson and Judge Anne Claire Williams, both Notre Dame alumnae, will be moderating the interview.Susan Zhu | The Observer Sotomayor has served on the Supreme Court since 2009 and has received degrees from both Princeton and Yale Universities. Sotomayor was nominated as an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court by President Barack Obama.The event is co-sponsored by the Office of the President, Notre Dame Law School and the Institute for Latino Studies. Professor Luis Fraga, the Arthur Foundation Endowed Professor of Transformative Latino Leadership and professor of political science at Notre Dame, said that over the years, there has been interest in having Sotomayor visit and that her arrival is part of a lecture series for the Institute for Latino Studies.“We found that there were other people on campus also interested in inviting her to speak … and we began to coordinate and collaborate with each other,” Fraga said. “This date fit with her schedule because the court is out of session mid-July through August and goes back into session after Labor Day.”Professor Timothy Matovina, executive director for the Institute of Latino Studies and professor of theology, emphasized the lecture’s focus on bringing in Latino leaders from all walks of life.“For us this is one of the [important leaders] that we’re bringing as an ongoing lecture series,” Matovina said. “We don’t just work for Latino students … we try to bring in people that inspire all students.”Fraga said students will be given the opportunity to ask Sotomayor questions and questions posed to her will most likely be related to her life, career and vision of the country. There are three events where students will be given a chance to submit their questions; the first event is held in the law school, the second is Wednesday night’s discussion, which is open to the public, and the third event is a breakfast discussion hosted by the Institute for Latino Studies.“It’s whatever the students are interested in,” Fraga said. “The questions that I have are questions related to her educational experiences, both growing up as a young child as well as in college and in law school … I [also] have a set of questions I’m going to pose to her regarding her understanding of leadership and how she sees herself as a leader.”Matovina talked about how he hopes Sotomayor will inspire students from all backgrounds and ignite a conversation about vocation.“I would hope our young people would be inspired to think big and [realize] the gifts that they have can serve the world around them [by] how their passions meet the world’s needs and how she’s done that,” Matovina said.Fraga said he hopes Sotomayor’s interview will help students to see that leadership positions are available to those who work hard, are committed and are fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to be a leader.“I expect that she will inspire our students to see themselves as major national leaders and that she will help them understand by talking about her own life path,” Fraga said.“I also expect her to be particularly inspiring to young women of all backgrounds who see themselves as having the opportunity to contribute to organizations, to our country and to the world.”Fraga said Sotomayor’s ability to hold such a large societal role and great influence while also remaining very human and maintaining a compassionate persona will leave a lasting impression on the Notre Dame community.“I think we all understand how fortunate and privileged we are to be able to have her here,” Fraga said. “Notre Dame continues to solidify its position as the premier Catholic research university in the country. … Bringing speakers like Sonia Sotomayor here should be expected of a University that is fully consistent with where we want to be as a university, who we are as a university and certainly totally consistent with the accomplished students that we have here.”Tags: Institute for Latino Studies, Notre Dame Law School, Sonia Sotomayor, Sotomayor
Saint Mary’s welcomed Liz Coulston as the new Belles Against Violence Office (BAVO) coordinator in May, and since then she has been busy establishing herself on campus as a new source of leadership and a reliable resource.“I think it’s important for students to know that I’m here now because the position has been empty for a year and a half, so a lot of people that are new on campus never knew that this position existed,” Coulston said. “So it’s important that people know that I’m here.”Originally from Niles, Michigan, Coulston said she was very familiar with Saint Mary’s and the surrounding community as she was growing up, and said she could see the Golden Dome from her parents’ house.“I love Saint Mary’s,” she said. “I grew up going to their summer camps for fine arts and for sports, so I’ve been familiar with the school for a long time.”Coulston studied psychology at Ohio Northern University where she minored in arts administration, entrepreneurship and dance. After graduating, Coulston moved to South Bend and worked at AIDS ministries as a care coordinator for individuals with HIV and AIDS diagnoses.After dancing professionally for two years in Chicago, Coulston found work at the Logan Autism Center in Benton Harbor, Michigan, before earning her masters in social work from Grand Valley State University. Through this graduate program, Coulston completed a year-long internship in crisis advocacy at the YWCA, a resource for individuals who have experienced domestic or sexual violence.When she started job hunting after graduating with her master’s degree in April of this year, Coulston said she wasn’t even aware of BAVO’s existence but was excited to discover Saint Mary’s offered such a resource to its students. She is passionate about assisting with college-aged students, an age group she has enjoyed working with in all of her areas of experience.“I just think it’s such a unique experience, and it’s a unique place for people to be in their lives,” she said. “You are suddenly thrust into this total independence at 18 and are expected to decide what you want to do for the rest of your life. … I think college kids are people that need a lot of support but don’t get a lot of support a lot of the time.”Though under new leadership, Coulston said BAVO will continue to provide many of the same services offered in previous years.“We continue to do education and outreach throughout campus and throughout the community,” she said. “I’ll still have my student advisory committee, as well as allies underneath them, so we will keep the student-led groups doing events and things like that on campus.”The office will provide advocacy services such as legal and medical aid, as well as counseling and other resources. In her position, Coulston will also act as a confidential reporter.“I don’t have to disclose anything that anyone tells me to the university or to law enforcement, outside of child abuse and neglect,” she said. “That’s a really great resource to have on campus. … People can come and talk to me if they just want to talk something out that has happened to them or a friend.”This year, BAVO will be working in coordination with the President’s Committee on Sexual Violence, a group of administrators and faculty members that have a special interest in addressing sexual violence on Saint Mary’s campus. The groups will host educational programming and events, Colston said.“I think the big thing we’re trying to show is that Saint Mary’s does take these issues seriously and that it’s not just one person in one office that cares,” she said.Coulston said the addition of three student representatives to the committee will include an essential student perspective.“I mean we can plan all we want, but if students aren’t actually interested in the information, they’re not going to come,” she said. “So it’s really important to have those students giving input on events and programming, not only in what students are interested in but what students want and what students need.”BAVO will continue to use the same first year orientation programming as used in years past, working in conjunction with the campus safety department and health and counseling center to educate incoming students on the available services, Coulston said. She encourages all first years, even those not seeking resources specific to BAVO, to stop by her office.“I feel like there’s such a stigma that people think that they need to have this super traumatic experience to come visit me, and that’s totally not true,” Coulston said. “I mean, you can come to me even just if you want someone that you can talk to that isn’t going to have to tell the school … so I totally encourage students and parents to come talk to me.”Tags: BAVO, Belles Against Violence Office, Liz Coulston, Saint Mary’s College
Maria Luisa Paul | The Observer Michael Sam, the first openly gay NFL player, uses his experiences to be a voice of encouragement for the LGBTQ+ community.But Sam said his story of “resilience, overcoming adversity and owning his truth” did not begin there — in many ways, it began in his childhood. Before he was born, an older sister drowned. When he was five, his oldest brother, Russell, was shot while he tried to break into a home. These events, Sam said, led his father to walk out on them.Grief struck again in 1998 more when his older brother Julian disappeared after leaving from work one day. To this day, he remains missing. Without Julian, the family responsibilities fell on Josh and Chris, two of Sam’s older brothers. However, they were involved in gang life, and brought drugs and weapons into the household, Sam said.“I saw drugs and drug addicts come in and out of the house,” he said. “I saw loaded weapons in my room. If I was a curious child, I could’ve harmed myself, or my sisters or my mother.”Despite being raised in a place Sam called “a town without opportunities” — Galveston, Texas — he went on to become the second in his family to graduate from high school, an accomplishment he said he still remembers as the proudest moment of his life.“That night, as they called my name, I walked across the stage and saw my mom in tears because of a moment so little as seeing one of her kids getting a high school diploma,” Sam said.Sam was admitted to Arizona State University (ASU), Colorado State University and University of Missouri. Though he said he dreamed of becoming a student at ASU, but changed his mind after visiting Mizzou’s campus.“I felt like I was supposed to be in this campus,” he said. “I felt like it was my home.”Even though Sam felt he made the right decision choosing Mizzou, he said transitioning to college was hard because he was still figuring out his sexuality.“I didn’t know how to handle it, so I decided to experiment,” Sam said. “After I experimented, I knew I was pretty damn gay.”While in college, he met Vito Cammisano, a former member of the Mizzou swim team, at a party. The pair eventually fell in love and began secretly dating.“I was living a fairy tale,” Sam said. “He made me so happy and I felt so safe.”Too ashamed to come out at the time, their romance eventually ended, Sam said.“I couldn’t tell him I loved him, so we broke up in senior year,” he said.After the breakup, Sam said he decided to “own his truth,” choosing to attend St. Louis’ pride parade in the summer. Soon after, he came out to his teammates. Sam said his peers supported him completely.“Mizzou supported me so much,” Sam said. “They made me give the very best of me every weekend. I did everything for my brothers because they always had my back.”Even though his team and most students at Mizzou knew Sam was gay, he came out to the rest of the world Feb. 9, 2014, thus becoming the first openly gay player in the National Football League (NFL). According to Sam, the NFL was not as supportive as his teammates.“The NFL was not ready for an openly gay athlete,” Sam said.Sam said he believes his sexuality caused him to fall down in the 2014 NFL Draft, in which the St. Louis Rams selected him in the 7th round.Sam was in San Diego the day he was finally drafted. Before receiving the call, he said he was by the beach anxiously contemplating his uncertain future. While he cried, he felt someone touch his shoulder. It was Cammisano.They received the news together, and shared a kiss that made national headlines.“The next day I woke up and thought the headlines would be ‘Michael Sam makes history,’” Sam said. “Instead, they were ‘Michael Sam kisses boyfriend.’”The media attention followed him to St. Louis. The press made it difficult to interact with his new teammates, he said; he felt he needed to earn their trust.He said this motivated him to work hard during the pre-season, where he led the team in sacks. However, the Rams ultimately released him in their final round of cuts. In September 2014, the Dallas Cowboys’ coach, Jerry Jones, offered Sam a position in their practice squad. A month later he was cut once again, and this was the last time he appeared in the NFL roster, Sam said.Sam said despite these challenges, he was determined to continue playing football. On May 2015, he signed a two-year contract with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League (CFL). But there, he was shunned by his former teammates for his sexuality.“Montreal ruined it for me. It was a totally terrible experience,” Sam said. “Everyone was against me. They chose not to shower because I was there and they wouldn’t have eye-contact with me.”In August 2015, Sam put an end to his professional football career. Since his retirement, he has dedicated himself to share his experience as a motivational speaker.Sam said one of the reasons he chose to become an LGBTQ-rights advocate came from talking with a former teammate’s cousin, who was a victim of bullying due to her sexuality. She had tried to commit suicide twice before connecting with Sam.“She said ‘You know, you saved my life?’ I started to cry,” Sam said. “There are people out there committing suicide because of their sexuality. I decided I was going to be sword and shield for these people.”By sharing his story, Sam said he hopes to help others struggling with their identity.“From this, I hope you learn that vulnerability is not weakness,” Sam said. “It is a sign of courage. So overcome the adversity and own your truth.”Tags: Gender Relations Center, Michael Sam, national football league, PrismND, University of Missouri Michael Sam made history in 2014 when he became the first-ever openly gay football player to be selected in the NFL draft. After a two-year professional career as a defensive end in both American and Canadian football leagues, Sam has dedicated his life to sharing his story with others. Monday evening, he spoke to the Notre Dame community in an event titled “From Hitchcock High to the NFL: I am Michael Sam.” The talk was hosted by the Gender Relations Center (GRC) and PrismND and held in the Dahnke Ballroom.Sam said he first came out as gay in his fifth year at the University of Missouri. His coach, Gary Pinkel, held an annual tradition where members of the team had to introduce themselves by saying their name, hometown, major and something nobody knew about them.“‘My name is Michael Sam. I’m from Hitchcock, Texas. I major in sport management, and … I’m gay,’” he said. “After I said these words, my whole life changed. Everything completely changed.”
JAMESTOWN — Tops is setting limits on some items in its stores.The following items are limited to two per customer, unless otherwise noted.Adult CareBaby FormulaBaby WipesBath Tissue, 4 roll pack or largerBig Pack ChickenBleach – 1 containerCereal – Four (4) boxesCleansing Flushable WipesCommercial breads and rolls (limit 4)Cough & ColdDiapersDisinfectant SpraysDisinfectant WipesFacial TissueFlour – One (1) package per customer. All brands, all sizes.Fresh ground beef, pork, chicken, and sausageFrozen Vegetables – Four (4) bagsHand SanitizerLaundry DetergentLiquid Dish DetergentOatmealPain RemediesPasta Sauce – Four (4) jarsPeanut ButterRubbing AlcoholSanitary ProtectionSugar- One (1) package per customer. All brands, all sizes.Along with this update, Tops says its bulk bin section is temporarily closed.The company says it is taking daily action to make sure more products are coming into its warehouses and stores. Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window),OLD NEWS!!! Walmart, TOPS, ALDI’s Wegmans and yes TOPS have been doing this since the end of February…10 or 12 weeks ago….maybe WNY newsnow should try to keep up, instead of posting blatant advertising disguised as news….