Go Guins! Once a Penguin, Always a Penguin

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Walking or jogging or driving along West Federal Street in downtown this past weekend, you may have caught a GO GUINS poster in the front window of the Wells Building where Strollo Architects has its offices.

I remember years ago, I was part of a group representing our Youngstown Diocese at a weeklong community organizing workshop at UCLA in California. (Hmmm, ever hear of YSU being called UCLA – University at the Corner of Lincoln Avenue?) I remember getting off the plane at LAX airport wearing a YSU cap. Walking out into the airport proper, I took but a few steps when someone yelled out, “GO PENGUINS!”

I looked over and a young man (an airport employee) with thumbs up said, “I graduated from Youngstown. Once a Penguin always a Penguin!” Yep. In the midst of hundreds of fast-moving air travelers, the legacy of Pete and Penny was alive and well!

And that rich legacy continues as YSU apparel and fans began descending on Indianapolis this past weekend for tonight’s semifinal and tomorrow’s final game for the Horizon League basketball championship.

For sure, this year’s women’s and men’s teams treated the Valley to some exciting (and nail biting) experiences at Beeghly Center. How nice it was, too, that during some games, other YSU sports accomplishments were acknowledged.

One evening, the YSU track and field and swimming and diving teams were recognized for their accomplishments in their sports. Looking over the rosters, it is so encouraging to see local and out-of-towners coming to our campus to learn, to grow and to compete in various individual and team competitions on the sports and educational platforms.

Modern day life at all levels is a mix of thrills, chills, challenges and opportunities. Our Valley is blessed at the high school level to see school spirit and pride abound from speech, academic and robotics competitions to organized sports and leadership conferences. Thankfully, the service component seems to weave its way throughout, as our young people realize and share their energy and concern for the broader community.

Take all of the above to the college/university level, and our Valley benefits from the positive energy that emanates from the classrooms, performance halls and sporting venues of our region’s campuses of higher learning.

There is no doubt that sharing the talents of our best on every level is a bonus, and when it grabs some of the national spotlight, we move into a new realm.

A while back, Tim Petrey, a local business entrepreneur and YSU graduate, commented in this space that he would like to see us in the Valley write more of our own narrative about who we are. Too often, he stated, others from outside the region or state write about who we are. WE NEED TO AUTHOR THE NARRATIVE. How true.

With that in mind, another opportunity to help write that narrative comes to us in the city of Indianapolis tonight and tomorrow. March Madness is an annual experience in our nation, and it is nice when the home team is on the list for all to see.

From the passenger lines in LAX airport years ago to the hardwood court at the Indiana State Fairgrounds tonight, ONCE A PENGUIN ALWAYS A PENGUIN!

And again, WELCOME to our newest Penguin, Interim President Helen Lamb Lafferty.


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