Archives for March 2019

Hard work by ‘Shock Platoon’ puts Norwich drill team in top ranks

As cadets from 24 different military schools sat in a small auditorium at Tulane University, members of Norwich’s Shock Platoon anxiously awaited the scores from the judges in the annual nationwide drill competition.

Instructors from Tulane University, who were the hosts for the Mardi Gras collegiate nationals, announced that the United States Military Academy (west Point) had taken third place overall. Then they announced that Norwich University had taken second place.

“I was absolutely shocked,” said Joseph Kim, a senior civil engineering major and commander of the Shock Platoon, who noted they “came down all the way from Vermont” the first weekend in March to prove they were capable of putting on a top-notch performance.

That they did. Norwich’s Shock Platoon competitors put on a show at Tulane University, taking honors as the only school to place in every single event, along with winning second overall in the nation.

“We worked extremely hard to get where we were at,” said Shawn H. Wan, a 21-year-old senior computer security and information assurance major from Jackson, N.J., who heads the drill team. “Being the commander for two of the events, it was humbling to see how far we came,” he said.
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Baseball team hopes off-season work and new attitude can improve on last year

As a member of the Norwich baseball team, Chris Davis knows that in order for the team to be successful this year, they have to be gritty and really grind it out this season.

The team has to do the little things right and make the simple plays out on the field and take the season one game at a time – and everyone has to do their part to contribute.

“Baseball is a rhythm game, and its players are those of habit so we kind of fall into a routine that helps us prepare and compete,” said Davis, a 20-year-old junior and pitcher from South Berwick, Maine.

Some of the struggles the team faced last year came from people not knowing their roles or what was expected from them, Davis said. “On any given day there could be position changes or lineup changes with really no explanation,” he said.

He sees a difference this year that gives him hope of a turnaround, despite the youth and lack of collegiate experience by much of the pitching rotation.

“Jake Ryan, our senior captain, is the ace of our staff with the most in-game experience out of our small group,” he said, but he also see promise for the rest of the pitchers. “Nick Landis, Jon Grasso, and Tanner Raymond round out our rotation and have their own strengths and weaknesses that they bring to the table,” Davis said.

But where he also draws some optimism is from the competitive drive that the pitchers have, which he thinks gives the team the best chance to win when they take the mound.

“Our bullpen is young, and we all have our roles, it might be to close a certain game, get a big out or simply bridge from the starter to the closer,” Davis said.

The pitching staff is a tight-knit group that supports each other and picks each other up when they’re down said Davis. “That’s all we can do for now.”
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Swim team award honors strong traits and perseverance of a Norwich alumnus

Norwich alumnus Michael Andrew Zemanek believed humans were put on earth for others rather than themselves. His passion for helping those who were weaker/less fortunate drove him to take the path less traveled, according to his mother, New York state trooper Sgt. Mary Anne McGreevy.

Tragically, in 2013 on July 31, Zemanek died in a car crash on I-89 due to a sudden undiagnosed heart arrhythmia. In his honor every year, the Michael Zemanek mental toughness award is given to a Norwich University swim/dive team senior who has exemplified the things that Zemanek lived by: self-service, integrity, positive attitude, excellent academic standing, and perseverance (

His mother, reflecting on her son’s life, said the award honors all those traits he showed.
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New leader of Norwich’s Corps of Cadets follows in his grandfather’s footsteps

New Cadet Colonel Ethan Hagstrom is taking the same post his grandfather held back in 1960

Ethan Hagstrom never thought he would find himself at a school such as Norwich, let alone a military school.

In fact, the 21-year-old communications major from Bedford, N.H., didn’t even consider Norwich one of his top five choices when applying.

“Norwich was the 10th school on my list,” he said. “It was the last one I added, and the last one I visited.
Hagstrom, a legacy student, only applied due to his family heritage with Norwich. “My grandfather was the cadet colonel in 1960,” Hagstrom said, adding he also had relatives who attended all the way back to 1912.

Fair to say then, that his life changed as soon as he stepped foot in Kreitzberg Arena in August of 2015 as a freshman. Now he is following in the footsteps of his grandfather, and carrying on a family legacy that started over 100 years ago.

On Feb. 8, Cadet Master Sgt. Ethan Hagstrom learned that he had been selected to serve as the cadet colonel, the highest rank in Norwich University’s Corps of Cadets, for the 2019-20 academic year.

“I thought it was going to be anybody else but me,” he said. “But my grandfather was colonel and encouraged me to go for it. He told me ‘you won’t know until you try.’ ” [Read more…]

Lessons from Prague: Human rights are universal, but how we see them depends on where we live

Prague: A window on a different world

 I personally believe that every trip officially begins once you reach the destination, you step outside and take that very first breath of air in a different environment. After months spent inhaling freezing Vermont air, and a dozen of hours breathing recycled airplane oxygen, stepping in the open-air of Prague was almost cathartic. I stood firmly outside just the time to fill my lungs with as much fresh air as possible, and for a second my mind brought me back to my home-country, Italy.

 A long frosty semester spent in Vermont buried by snow can play some tricks on your mind: Even if Italy and the Czech Republic have little in common, at first impression it felt familiar. At the end of the day, there are only a few European countries in between them, instead of an entire ocean.

  On the bus ride to the Anglo-American University, where the conference is hosted, by looking outside the window my mind kept comparing and flashing to my beloved Italy. I noticed people wearing stylish modish clothes and walking around the city smoking cigarettes and sipping espresso instead of diluted Dunkin’ coffee. I admired the combination of very modern and innovative building like the “Dancing House” designed by Vlado Milunić, standing next to ancient monuments dating back to war times. Tiny city cars were zigzagging between old bridges and narrow streets in order to pass slow trams and public buses.

  Finally, I saw green grass growing around wide parks, where people were enjoying the bright sun and the warm weather above 50 F, which will not occur regularly in Vermont for the next couple of months. From the nostalgic point of view of an Italian, Prague is a momentary cure for a homesick girl who has spent too much time in the light-deprived winter of Norwich University, yet an undiscovered city preserving an incredible turbulent history while following the European trend towards modernity and globalization. [Read more…]

The Norwich Prague participants

Norwich students gather for a group shot at the Interdisciplinary Conference on Human Rights in Prague March 8, 2019. Norwich history professor Rowland Brucken is co-organizer of the event, which has expnded beyond his wildest dreams. In 2021, it will be held at Norwich.

Thoughts from Prague, Part II: History and Human Rights brought home

Guidon staffers Sonja Jordan and Michelle Masperi are in Prague during spring break to cover a conference on Human Rights co-organized by Norwich history professor Rowland Brucken.  

Last night we went on a guided tour throughout the city. We were all hungry, jet lagged, and had been on our feet all day. The wind was brisk and my feet were throbbing with every step on the old cobblestone streets. But when you are in the pack, you follow.
  We started first by seeing the Charles bridge. The sun had set and the water was lit up with the reflections of the car and boat lights. It was windy and loud, but oddly, I felt at peace and very quiet when I saw the bridge that had started being built in 1357. This bridge is the oldest man-made structure I have seen in my whole life. This bridge is older than my country.

  We pushed on, and arrived at the Cathedral Church Sts. Cyril and Methodius, otherwise known as the Parachutist’s church.It was here that on June 18, 1942, Operation Anthropoid was carried out. In the church was Reinhard Heydrich, the third-highest ranking Nazi, who was assassinated by seven Czech and Slovak men. This is considered one of the greatest acts of resistance in all of occupied Europe, especially considering Czechs were not allowed to fight in the war due to the Munich Agreement. [Read more…]

Thoughts from Prague

Guidon Editor Sonja Jordan, whiling away time on the way to Prague, Czechoslovakia, to report on a Human Rights Conference for the Norwich student newspaper.

After many meetings, many email chains, and many nights of hard work at Norwich, Michelle Masperi and I found ourselves this week traveling 3,800 miles throughout the late night on a flight to Prague, in the Czech Republic, for an Interdisciplinary Conference on Human Rights. Invited to join the trip at the last minute, as both Guidon staffers and communications majors, our aim is to report on this conference, organized in part by history professor Rowly Brucken, who also arranged for a group of Norwich liberal arts students to attend. But first we had to scramble to get organized and pack and get to Boston for our flight.

The first flight was delayed 40 minutes and was nearly empty, with full rows of seats left unoccupied. I spent the flight dozing and watching World War II documentaries. I looked out the window and saw nothing but black, it felt like I was actually time traveling. Behind me, the baby who stared at me though the crack in the seat cooed quietly, and I dozed to be awoken by a woman with Swiss yogurt and the strongest airplane coffee I’ve ever had.

We arrived bleary eyed at a brief stop in Switzerland, where I purchased a small iced tea for the cheap price of $10, and had my first experience at customs. I got the very first stamp in my passport, and ran across the airport for a much needed nap at the gate. Simultaneous to our travel, a group of students from Norwich attending the conference with us were spending their layover in Dublin, where they drank real Irish Guinness at 6:30 in the morning (the only acceptable drink to have at that hour in Dublin).
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