WRITTEN BY AARON MALDONADO
St. Francis College alumni Carmelo Maldonado ’71 weighed in on the tools for success he gained during his time as a student.
SFC has fostered the education of thousands of highly successful professionals that actively mentor current students. Maldonado graduated in 1971 with a Bachelor’s Degree in English. An avid reader, the graduate decided to make a living out of what he liked to do and is currently a successful teacher.
Maldonado recalls a pleasant time when he attended St. Francis, actively participating in student life, most notably Spanish Club, then moderated by spanish professor Dr. Enildo Garcia, who unfortunately passed away in 2008. The student life of past decades was nothing in comparison to the sprawling community centered at 180 Remsen Street.
The current teacher cannot speak about his SFC experiences without recognizing the people who inspired him. Dr. Arthur Hughes and Professor Langiulli were pivotal in his development in college. Dr. Hughes, a History Professor, recently delivered the 2008 Winter Graduation Commencement address. Dr. Languilli of the philosophy department retired in 2001 after 46 years with the college. Maldonado stressed that there is something to be noticed about this school from its achievements and professors, and that the friendships made here are meaningful and unconditional.
Maldonado also shared some insight about some of the major physical changes that have occurred at the college. Over the past few years, there has been a lot of construction done throughout the school. Whether it be an entire side of the sixth floor closed off for future science labs or the front end construction outside the school since last year, it is all for the purpose of enhancing the academic environment. St. Francis has undergone major facility changes since the 1970’s and beyond.
“At that time (1967-1971) the building was in a process of renovation and new construction was progressing in a timely fashion. The results today are impressive. The “new” building never looked like it does now. The lobby was a large open space. The cafeteria looks nothing like the one I utilized,” said Maldonado.
Like many college students, Maldonado also had to find time for a job. Currently, a number of working students would like to be able to study and write term papers at a reasonable time, but many find themselves pulling all-nighters due to other obligations. Maldonado explained that it is important to remember that school should always be your first priority.
Maldonado steadily worked part time in order to help finance his education and increase his spending money. He recalled jobs at places such as E.F. Hutton on Wall Street on the night shift, working in the ADP and securities and stocks departments. He also taught Spanish at the Brooklyn Diocese Intercultural Institute, facilitated by Professor Garcia.
Maldonado also shared some of the steps he took after graduation that contrast much with how SFC helps its students today. According to Maldonado, St. Francis did not play a huge role in finding a career after graduation at the time. Maldonado said: “If the student service was available to graduates I was not aware of it.” Today the SFC Career Center is open 9-5 offering help with internships, mock interviews, as well as assigning alumni mentors.
Despite the fact that SFC did not have the same services or amenities that students have today, Maldonado agrees that the school was a principal factor in the development of his career.
He said: “I spent six months looking for a job, from June 1971 until January 1972. I contacted friends, scanned the newspapers for jobs, went to various department stores, etc. I was told that I was over-qualified and under-experienced. Finally, in January I met a lady [Maria Sanchez] who worked at the District 14 Superintendant’s Office NYC Public Schools, and she facilitated my being hired at P.S. 19 in Brooklyn.”
Maldonado began teaching in September 1972 and has taught grades 5-8 in subjects such as science, history, English, Spanish and Math.
With regard to his experiences at St. Francis, Maldonado said: “It gave me the tools I would need to be a productive member of society. It opened doors that I would otherwise not have been able to enter.”
This advice rings true today. The opportunities that this college gives each and every student should not go unnoticed. If you are a student or prospective student, take advantage of everything this college offers. You will not be disappointed.
When asked about advice he would offer to students, Maldonado said: “Just keep working hard, keep working towards your goal and your dreams will be realized. You are in a great school. Enjoy your college years, but keep your eyes on the prize. Success is yours in the future.”