MART: Member News

Chaminade College Fair 

By: Marie Wicks & Andrew Soucheck

marie wicks and andrew soucheck

Here on Long Island, NY, Marist College has a reputation that precedes it. It is affectionately referred to as “Harvard on the Hudson.” It is highly regarded, and when high school seniors announce that they have been accepted to Marist, they earn an unspoken status among their peers that clearly defines who they are, not only as outstanding students, but as individuals with a very special combination of qualities. 

Who better to convey a passion and enthusiasm for Marist than its own alumni during a college fair? After completing the on-line MART training facilitated by Chris Doyle, we volunteered for our first college fair at Chaminade High School. The close proximity to our homes was one reason why Andrew and I were able to attend this particular fair, we were also familiar with the school. Several students at Chaminade are very active in the leadership and service programs I facilitate as the volunteer coordinator in my parish of St. Anne’s in Garden City.

Andrew, however, has a more significant connection as he is an alumni of Chaminade. For Andrew, it was a privilege to represent Marist at his former high school. Having had very satisfying experiences at both Chaminade and Marist made it easy for him to relate to the prospective students, and they readily sensed it. Not only was he able to answer questions on the important issues, but Andrew was also able to highlight some personal experiences that brochures cannot explain. This was an important component for prospective students as it allowed them to see the whole picture when selecting colleges. He was able to address questions specific to Chaminade students considering Marist, as he went through that process himself.

We were able to provide an alumni’s unique and personal perspective of Marist. The parents and students seemed to relish the fact that volunteer alumni were there. And certain level of comfort was evident in the way the prospective students and their parents spoke to us, knowing we were alumni representing Marist with genuine interest and loyalty to our alma mater.

Although we readily noticed a pattern in the type of questions asked, there were also some unusual but interesting ones nonetheless, ranging from “how many chicken entrees are usually available on the cafeteria menu?” (the student ate only chicken) to “I’ve heard good things and bad things about Marist…I’ve heard it’s too easy…” from a parent, while her son cringed at the question. Although our initial reaction was one of stifled surprise, we soon realized that it is exactly for this reason why a MART representative can help during college fairs. Parents, as well as students, need to ask questions that matter to them most, and while they can get answers for many of the standard questions in brochures, having a human being provide answers gives them some reassurance and peace of mind. They walk away with the feeling that someone cared enough to give their question and concerns time and attention.

The Chaminade college fair was very well attended and quite active. The parents and students came prepared with questions and were intent on getting satisfactory answers. We were happy to oblige as best we could. The two hours passed in a productive blur. The Marist table still had a crowd lingering long after the fair officially ended, but the visitors left satisfied, speaking excitedly about their pending visit to the campus.

Any Marist alumni would find being a MART member satisfying in giving back to our alma mater in this personal and convenient way.

*Marie Wicks is President of the Long Island alumni chapter and Andrew Soucheck is a Steering Committee member of the Long Island alumni chapter.