(See Part I “My Delaware County Community College!”)Before I ever went to a community college, I had to make up several deficits in my learning. I had to take remedial math as well as remedial English. I passed both and was then permitted to take regular classes which include journalism studies and just as important, the school’s extra-curricular activity of working on the college newspaper. I began as a reporter for The Communitarian. The paper used my by-line on every story I wrote, and by my second year at DCCC, I was named editor. Well, I believe my military training must have kicked in because I started to publish an edition on a weekly basis. You were lucky to have it published once a month until I took over.
I also got involved in politics during the 1972 election and did a poll of all the politicians running for office in the sponsoring school districts. As editor-in-chief, I then endorsed a candidate who was running for president of the United States, George McGovern. Journalism turned out to be a lot of fun for me.I was awarded a Sigma Delta Chi journalism prize which I used in my transfer to Temple University in Philadelphia. I also got a fellowship – the James A Finnegan Foundation – which led to a summer job in our state’s capital Harrisburg. As part of the award, I joined other students for dinner with then governor Milton J Shapp, for whom I would end up writing a speech as a state employee in the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s public information office.
For some reason, I was one of three students chosen to give a graduation speech to the Class of 1973. I spoke about my educational journey and used an old airline saying “Getting there is half the fun.” I also criticized President Richard M Nixon for what would turn out to be his downfall from the Watergate investigation. Several of the school board of trustee members voiced their disapproval until the key speaker also criticized Nixon. The speaker was Claude Lewis, the first black journalist to ever write a newspaper column for a major American publication, the Evening Bulletin of Philadelphia. (I smiled and felt uplifted on hearing his words!)Temple University came easy. I was able to transfer 42 of the credits I earned at the community college and was able to complete the requirements for a bachelor’s degree in journalism in a single year which included summer school. I still had credit under the GI Bill which offered 48 months of school payments, so I decided to get a master’s degree in American history, which I also completed in a full year with summer school classes. That’s three degrees in four years if anyone is counting. It usually takes six years for such activities. My associate’s degree from DCCC is still my favorite. I worked as a reporter for the Pottstown Mercury newspaper and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. I also served as a union organizer for The Newspaper Guild with an NLRB election held in Reading, PA.
————-Oops. I almost forgot. I also ended up getting another degree, a jurist doctor degree in 1988 after graduating from Temple Law School, and like our current president, Joe Biden, worked as a public defender right out of school. I spent 20 years with the Defender Association of Philadelphia trying more than 100 jury trials and winning more than half of them!
I owe it all to the Delaware County Community College!
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