By Natalie St. Denis
Sam Tascione is a junior in the childhood education and special education combined program at SUNY Plattsburgh. Being a teacher was always something that lingered in the back of his mind because it’s his mom’s profession. But since his senior year of high school, he knew he wanted to teach. This was further solidified when he became a camp counselor at 18.
“I started working at camps, and I realized how much fun it was to work with kids and how you can have an impact on them at such a young age and help them develop into people,” Tascione said.
He has been a camp counselor for the past three years and was the head counselor this past summer. He became more confident in leadership positions through this. Working as a camp counselor helped Tascione figure out that he wanted to develop it into a career.
Tascione joined Tau Kappa Epsilon his sophomore year and became the risk management chair.
“Right off the bat I was put in that position to help me just become more confident as a leader, really stand up for myself and what I believe in,” Tascione said. “It’s given me so many more opportunities to branch out and try new things.”
Others are also able to see how actively involved he is on campus. Amy Gervich, who has known Tascione only since the start of this semester notes his willingness to participate.
“Sam is always sharing different things that he is doing on campus or has done on campus in the past,” Gervich said. “He wears t-shirts and sweatshirts that talk about the activities he’s done with his fraternity.”
Additionally, Tascione is the event coordinator for the No More Cancer Rally, an event that raises money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. It’s usually hosted in early November, but because of COVID-19 it won’t be. But fundraising is still encouraged. So far this year, $9,000 has been raised. He is hopeful that it can happen in the spring, even if virtually.
COVID-19 has also affected his teaching experiences. In the past, he was involved in a program called Project Connect, where he would go into a school and work in the after-school program. But COVID-19 forced the program to be reinvented to fit the circumstances.
The program is now called Cardinal Classroom. Tascione works with a student one-on-one via Zoom and tutors them based on their academic needs. His adviser, Michelle Bonati, said he lit up when she asked him about how the tutoring program was going the other day. Gervich can see him putting a lot of time and energy into the program as well.
Tascione also works with students on campus. Tascione became a Community Advocate last year for Adirondack Hall, which had its difficulties within itself. He was 19-years old while all his residents were 21. But being a CA this year for an all-freshmen building has been a different experience. He has connected with his floor and says it’s very community-based.
“It’s just cool getting to be there to help people with whatever resources they need, just help them guide through that first college experience,” Tascione said.
Bonati sees how much he cares for others, especially through his CA position.
“I think he really wants to help people feel part of the community here at Plattsburgh, and he shows he cares about his fellow students and the broader Plattsburgh community as well,” Bonati said.
Reflecting back, Tascione sees that he had changed a lot since his freshman year.
“I wasn’t completely out of my shell yet. I was still kind of adapting to college trying to get my footing in,” Tascione said.
Despite this uncertainty, Bonati mentions that he was always willing to get up and speak in front of the class, which is often difficult for freshmen.
Compassion for others has always remained an important trait of Tascione’s.
“At the end of the day, one of the things that makes me happiest is making other people happy and trying to help them develop and get the most out of their lives as possible,” Tascione said.
But overall, through his experiences and leadership here at SUNY Plattsburgh, Tascione has confidence in himself and the work he has done here. Both of which will help him in his future when applying for teaching positions.
“I’m also just happier. My freshman year was hard, but ever since sophomore and this year, everything about my life just makes me happy,” Tascione said.