Frost Motivates Donor, Student to ‘Stay Gold’
Robert Frost's poetry touches lives around the world, especially University of St. Thomas alumnus and scholarship donor Vincent D'Amico
'52. D'Amico, forever changed by meeting Frost, awarded the Robert Frost Endowed Scholarship in Secondary Education to senior Matthew Panozzo for his essay on Frost's poem "Nothing Gold Can Stay."
D'Amico, a retired English teacher, not only met Frost in 1958, but had a long, in-depth conversation with him about secondary education and scholarship endowment. They discussed the lack of appreciation for secondary teachers and how they should be more highly regarded.
Strangers that happened to meet by chance, Frost made an impression on D'Amico that he would carry with him throughout his life in his education and teaching style.
When D'Amico met Panozzo, he gave him a ride in his 1951 Mecca maroon Plymouth, the car Frost first rode in when D'Amico met him more than 50 years ago.
Panozzo, in the UST School of Education
, transferred from Seton Hall University in May 2011. He is currently working as program staff at Camp for All, a special needs and barrier-free camp in Burton, Texas. In his essay “Nothing Gold Can Stay,” Panozzo highlights his journey as a counselor and how he must keep his enthusiasm high to make it an enjoyable experience for the campers.
“Enthusiasm is a hard emotion,” Panozzo said. “I was hired to make every child’s camp experience the best ever. It is my duty to hold on to that enthusiasm.”
Panozzo discusses how as one group of campers replaces another, the newness of each activity and group will fade. He mentions how Frost's poem talks about life coming in cycles so his freshness will eventually be restored.
"Though the turnaround rates are varied, at some point a new flower blossoms," Panozzo said in his essay. "Eden is renewed, day will turn to night and night will be shattered by a new dawn."
Dr. Rick Krustchinsky
, associate dean of the undergraduate education program, said Panozzo was selected based on his academic record, but also on his essay.
"He had one of the highest, if not the highest, grade point averages in our 8-12 English/Language Arts teaching certification program
," Krustchinsky said. "Matthew did a really nice job on his essay. I taught Matthew and found him to be a very creative and energetic learner who was willing to see new approaches to class projects.”
The scholarship will help Panozzo finish his undergraduate degree. He plans to be a guidance counselor and will graduate in May 2013. Both D'Amico and Panozzo appreciate the poetry and ideals Frost instilled in their educational careers.