Finding life-changing work at Guilford Elementary

April 2015: A warm spring day, right around the time I had officially declared that I would be a student at Loyola University Maryland come the fall.

Around this time, I had received a package stating that I was eligible for federal work study, a common need for students in college. Little did I know what job I would be placed in, where I would work, or what a work study position truly entailed.

Little did I know that my work study job would change my entire career path and lead me to what I wanted to do with my life.


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A new direction

A little over a year ago, I was merely a high school student with no clue where my life fam-visitwould take me—aside from leaving my small, peninsular town on Long Island. Today I know who I am and what direction my life is going in.

My name is Alyson Forgione, and I’m a sophomore at Loyola. I’m an elementary education major with a minor in special education. I wrote for this blog last year, and am excited to see what this year brings…

Even now, with three years still remaining of my college career, I know the direction I want the rest of my life to head in; I want to be a second grade teacher.

A teacher who someday influences others the way my own teachers influenced me.

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Exploring Baltimore

I have to admit that it wasn’t until recently that I truly started to take advantage of the multitude of activities and attractions Baltimore offers…

I have been trying to get off campus and find out for myself if the phrase that many of the benches in the city have engraved on them, “Baltimore: Greatest City in America,” is true.


Now that the warm weather is *officially* here, it seems like the perfect time to do some exploring before I am completely swamped with final exams and end of semester commitments and work.

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Becoming a Marylander

Never in my life have I been told I have an accent.

It was not until recently that I began developing a regional dialect—but not from my native Long Island, New York. No, I think, slowly but surely, I am developing a Baltimore accent.

I’ll be honest. Having a Baltimore accent is something that I would be proud of!

Baltimore has become my home away from home, and there are a lot of really endearing things about this state that I am adopting in my own life.

First off, Marylanders say “Bawlmer.” It’s two syllables, and there is no ‘t.’

They also have a slight obsession with their flag. When you’re from Maryland, you hang a GIANT Maryland in your dorm room. IMG_5254

You proudly wear Maryland flag-printed clothing.

md socks

Marylanders love their Old Bay seasoning. And make no mistake, it’s not just for crabs.

When you go to a restaurant, it is flat-out wrong to get an order of fries without Old Bay (or better yet, being handed a shaker so you can apply your own amount to your liking). Marylanders enjoy Old Bay wings, Old Bay chips, Old Bay on corn on the cob, Old Bay popcorn. The Charmery in Hamden makes an Old Bay-caramel ice cream. Living in Maryland means embracing Old Bay.

old bay

Lacrosse is a huge part of Maryland culture (despite that its not the state sport which is jousting). Keep in mind, I am from New York. Marylanders’ love of this sport is on a different level than where I grew up.IMG_5244

Personally, I love the state pride that Marylanders exhibit and some of the quirkier things that make this state and the city of Baltimore one of a kind.

And speaking of state pride, Maryland Day is this month. Maryland Day is celebrated on March 25, the day the first European settlers landed in Maryland, the third English colony to be settled by the British in North America.

Maryland Day also has a Jesuit connection. Of the 150 or so settlers aboard the ship that landed in what is now St. Mary’s County were three Jesuit priests and other Catholics seeking religious freedom.


It was these people who built the Baltimore Basilica, America’s first cathedral, which is less than two miles down Charles Street from Loyola’s campus and a beautiful place to visit.

A Day in the Life: Alyson


9:01 a.m.
Just as it does every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, my dreaded alarm goes off at precisely 9:01. Never a moment earlier, nor a moment later, this is a weird ritual I have always had: my alarm must go off at an unconventional, uneven time.

From there, I begin my typical morning routine which, of course, includes rifling through my closet for something to wear. (This is something I am still getting used to as a college student. I wore a uniform every weekday for my entire life).

And thus, my typical Monday commences.


10:00 a.m.
After bracing the chilling weather of this winter on my walk across campus, I finally reach Beatty Hall. Here I sit and I enjoy my first class of the day: American History Post-Civil War. This class is particularly interesting to me because I have always taken a great interest in American History. This may be because of my strong sense of nationalism and how proud I am to be an American, but it might also be because history makes sense to me, as opposed to some other, trickier subjects on my docket this year.


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Braille Literacy Month

Despite my profound hatred for the month of January, which really feels like 30 straight days of cold, dark, and gloomy, there is one thing I love about it: January is National Braille Literacy Month!

More than 150 million people around the world today use Braille  for a multitude of reasons.braille letters

January was chosen for this celebration because it is the birth month of Louis Braille, the inventor of Braille code, which was developed nearly two centuries ago.

The idea that our nation dedicates an entire month to advocating this system of communication amazes me. Braille has a special place in my heart, not because I am able to read it, but because as an infant, there was a great chance that I would have had to some day.

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This Christmas, a Special Thank You

People constantly ask why I spend so much time in the library, or why I care so much about my grades.

The answers to both of these questions are simple…

I want to succeed. And I want to make my parents proud.

There is nothing more important to me than seeing the smile on my parents’ faces after I tell them I am doing well scholastically.

“Your parents may not be perfect, but they are the most precious gift life can give,” is a saying that, since I started college in September, I have truly come to understand. It wasn’t until I was in college that I realized how hard my parents work to make Loyola possible for me. They have sacrificed so many things, and I can not even express how eternally grateful I am for this.

That is the reason I strive to succeed. I want my parents to know that all of their hard work isn’t being wasted, that I am seizing every opportunity I can to make them proud, and to prevail in life with all of the tools they gave me.

My parents are a support system, my best friends. Without a doubt, they are the people I am most thankful for.

Without them, I wouldn’t be who I am today—nor would I be going where I hope to in the future.


On Veterans Day

When you think of the word “hero,” who comes to mind?

A parent? A teacher? Superman?

For me, it’s the men and women who serve or have served in America’s Armed Forces.

By definition, a hero is a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. A hero is someone who risks their own well being in order to assist someone else.

When I hear the word “hero,” I think of the people who risk their lives daily for the benefit of our nation and its people, most of whom they have never and will never meet.12232713_10154390853913378_7182479967408467667_o

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I can honestly say that though I love school, the past two weeks have been extremely painful for me.

Most college students are grappling with the difficulty of midterms or homesickness around this time of year. My past week has filled me with sadness that goes beyond missing my family and friends or struggling to overcome to rigor of my first college. Last week, I lost a good friend to cancer.

It was extremely difficult for me, as well as for at least ten other Loyola students that I know of.

What can you really say about a 17-year-old who passes away six days before his eighteenth birthday?

It’s a tragedy; something no one ever wants to even attempt to fathom.

So many people are concerned with how he died, but me, I want to concentrate on how he lived. This post is meant to celebrate the lessons my good friend Tom taught me.


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A Place Where I Belong

I sit in my dorm room eating sour cream and onion potato chips, wondering…

Would I be as happy as I am right now if I were at any other school?

While I don’t have magical power to determine whether I would or I wouldn’t be (which is a shame), I have a very strong feeling that it’s Loyola that has made my first few weeks as a college student so positive…


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