" Write On" The Shield -Through the Ages- By: Kayla Fonseca
Updated: Sep 25, 2018
Marist High School opened as an all boys Catholic high school in 1954. In 1964, the campus moved from 8th Street in Bayonne to JFK Blvd. In 1986, the school opened its doors to girls. This is our history. Like thousands of schools across the world, Marist, too, had a school newspaper, by students, for students. Now, in the 21st century, we have blown the dust off "The Shield" and a few months ago, revived it into its new online format. "The Shield" has acquired new staff members, new topics to cover, and a whole new look, but how did the old version of The Shield function? What ever happened to the vintage, paper and ink version?
Br. William Maske, a current math teacher at Marist, first arrived at the Boulevard in 1968, just four years after the school had moved from 8th Street. At that time, seven Marist brothers were welcomed to the school; the perfect topic for an article. Br. Maske says that staffers reported on teams and clubs, conducted interviews with teachers and students, and snapped photographs at school events. At this point, Marist's student body consisted of all-boys.
In December 1968, The Shield had one editor-in-chief, one assistant editor, one layout manager, and one photography editor. There were two head writers and seven reporters, with Brother Damian Melvin serving as the faculty advisor. In 1981, under the direction of Sister Joan Freer, the newspaper’s name was changed from The Shield to The Knightly Review. There is little to no explanation as to why the name was changed but, it was soon switched back.
In 1987, Mr. Tom Murphy, beloved and now retired history teacher, joined the scene at Marist and became The Shield’s moderator. According to Mr. Murphy, most of the staffers were freshmen and the editor was Eugene King, a person whose leadership Mr. Murphy credits with making The Shield so successful. All articles and submissions were typed, edited, and sent to a printer in Bayonne who gave the school a fair price. Students wrote about events happening in the school at the time: the baseball team making it to the playoffs, a review of that week’s lunch and interviews with teachers. There was virtually no censorship. No submissions were sent to the administration for review. Hot off the presses, the newspapers were delivered in homeroom and published every month.
Mr. Lucian Lucia attended Marist High School from 1982-1984, his freshman, sophomore, and the beginning of his junior years. In his own words, Mr. Lucia describes his experience at The Shield as follows : “My time at The Shield was one of the most rewarding, encouraging, and developmentally satisfying times in my life. It is was the first time I could reflect on creative pursuits for a greater context. In other words, I was channelling my creativity and intelligence for much more than myself - I was doing it for the greater Marist community and that thought motivated and inspired me.” Mr. Lucia goes on to say that the long afternoons and evenings he spent with Ted Mullally and others in his band of brothers were “walks in the clouds.” He explains,
“I felt so elevated above my everyday existence being in the offices of The Shield and reflecting on how best to compose a story or contribute to artwork. It was indeed the first time in my life that I felt so connected to a greater purpose in a professional sense. I felt so special being part of the Marist family and contributing to what I believed to be an exceptional society of scholars, athletes, and citizens of the world.”
Mr. Lucia compares the ambience, sense of living and purpose, and overall drive to enjoy the moment that was felt at The Shield to the film, Dead Poet’s Society. He concluded with, “I miss the friends, time, and overall significance of that experience because it taught me their value. What a special time and group of people. I will cherish it in my heart always.”
Putting out the newspaper, whether 50 years ago or now, takes lots of time, effort, and a great team. It is obvious that the family atmosphere at Marist shines through in The Shield and is a tremendous help in publishing a monthly edition. The writers, photographers, videographers, poets, critics, and everyone involved, are a community that work not just for themselves, but for their fellow brothers and sisters in Marist, past and present. It is comforting to know that even after all this time, The Shield unites us always.
Thank you Br. William Maske, Mr. Tom Murphy, and Mr. Lucian Lucia for your contributions. By: Kayla Fonseca