WACS News.

During the strange fall of 2020, students in Mrs. Tanner and Mr. Dabkowski’s English 12 class spent time reading, exploring and writing about “Tuesdays With Morrie,” Mitch Albom’s best-selling book about seeking and finding meaning in life.

At the end of the book, they were asked to find and interview their own version of Morrie — someone who mentored them, encouraged them, and taught them important lessons about what’s really important in life.

The podcasts below are the result of many hours of research, writing, discussion and editing. They represent the care, thoughtfulness, humor and emotional intelligence of these students and the people who shaped them. We think they capture something important about what it means to live a meaningful life.

Take a listen:

Hayden Grover

I interviewed my grandmother, Pattie Grover, a mother of four and a grandmother of eight. The interview took place at her house while sitting in the living room. I chose to interview my grandma because she is an amazing who cares deeply about others. The way she lives is how I strive to live my life. We talked about her youth, who influenced her the most in her life and her advice for me as I continue to learn and explore.

Micah Barrett

Who else would be the representative of making me into a better person than Mr. Fecio, or, as he is better known to the masses, “Jimbo”? I decided that Jimbo was one of the few adults who very much understands what kind of stuff I get myself into and the problems I cause. And what better place to hold this interview than in the one place where most of the storytelling occurs, his shoe box room of an office with the athletic table and his little desk? We try to highlight the type of friendship we have, how Jimbo has impacted my life, and if he will finally fix my back and knee problems.

Carter Bolles

I met with my dad Eric Bolles on a Saturday night. Due to his work on the Batavia police force, this is one of the only times I was able to see him during the week. I asked him about some important topics that are going to relate to my future very soon. I also learned new information about his senior year and his experiences in the military. We discuss our family military background and his most important values. One of his most important values is that his pension is high so that he can take care of my mom if something were to happen to him. This experience allowed us to see that we are both inspired by the military background, our family, and our shared work ethic.

Charles Jaroszewski

For my Tuesdays with Morrie interview, I had the pleasure of talking to an ex-coworker of mine, Nick Trippany. For this specific interview we talked in his garage in Alden. There are many reasons as to why I choose this person to be my Morrie. First and foremost we are like family and are both there for each other to talk to. Nick and I were always close right from the get-go at Crosby’s, always screaming at the cameras and getting p.o.’d at our previous manager for not doing most of what she had to do. Within this interview we talked about his early career in body modification (tattooing), happiness, and influences.

Cheyenne Krull

I interviewed my younger sister, Erica Krull, for my “Find your Morrie” assignment on my bed in my room. She entered my life when I was just one year old. We meet in Sisters Hospital, and we instantly became friends and sisters for life. I lived with my sister for 16 years and we have been through everything together, the good and bad, the high and the low. Erica is interested in the medical field, has a fear of death, and is hopeful for her future. Here we talk about the future, fears, and school. This interview pushed us to talk more to each other face to face.

Haley Lerner

Someone I look up to, or someone that is a “Morrie” to me is my Grammie. I interviewed her in her two-story house big enough to fit a family of nine, on a corner of a side street on a small lot of land. Her house is the only house she has ever lived in, so there are many memories there. She has taught me many lessons. One that has stuck out the most was to be honest. My Grammie is one of the most brutally honest people I know. She will tell you how she feels no matter what. It could be hurtful or meaningful. No matter what, in the end I know she is always there and will support me. In this interview we talk about her childhood, her present day, and how she became so honest.

Grace Giardina

The person I interviewed as my Morrie was my mom, Madonna Giardina. We did the interview in my cozy living room on the couch with our dogs. I chose to interview my mom because she is the person who has always helped me through things in my life. My mom is important to me because she is my mom, obviously, but she is also very kind and helpful to many people. It seemed fitting to use my mom as my Morrie because of all I’ve learned from her. My mom and I talked about where she grew up and what it was like, about the way I’m growing up, and how its different than the way my siblings grew up. It was an emotional conversation that let me get to know my mom better.

Emma Mariani

For my find my “Morrie” interview I interviewed my mom, Wendy Mariani. I interviewed my mom at
our house in the living room. I chose my mom because I look up to her and she does a lot for me. I really
appreciate her. My mom and I are best friends, and she is the best mom in the world. My mom is
important to me because she does everything for me, and she gave me life. Some of the things we talked
about were who she looks up to, her job as a nurse and why she likes it, and what she would change in her
life if she could.

Nate Passmore

For my interview, I chose my mom, which was an easy choice because she means so much to me. I interviewed my mom in my house, that I have lived in all my life, specifically at the desk in my room. I chose my mom again because she means a lot to me, she has a positive influence on me, a wonderful sense of humor, and I appreciate everything that she has ever done for me. She would do anything for me. She is important to me in many ways. She is my mother and I always strive to have a great relationship with my parents. She always is cooking for us, and she always makes me laugh. In the interview we talk about jobs that she first wanted, growing up, and advice for young people.

Brianna Quinn

When I thought about who made a big impact in my life, I thought of my grandma, Carol. I am her second-oldest granddaughter. We decided to do the interview at her house in the kitchen overlooking the black-and-white checker print window shades. I chose her because I would say she is my best friend, and I know I can always count on her support. She is very important to me for many reasons. She taught me how to be kind to people and how hard work can pay off. During our interview, we talked about her very first Disney cruise, how her dream vacation came true, and what’s her favorite animal of all time. It was so enjoyable to be able to connect with her.

Colin Setlock

The person that I interviewed was my brother Alex. We grew up together playing with Legos and action figures. My parents say we are the same person as we have the same interests and hobbies. He is a role model for me. He showed me that if you’re dedicated to your work you will benefit from it. He also taught me to always be open-minded and see both sides of an argument. During our interview we talked about his favorite experience when we were younger. The main topic talked about in our interview was his experience in the Marines. We touched on topics like boot camp, where he is stationed, and what he plans on doing in the future. At the end I asked him about advice he could give to people considering the military and if he sees himself as a role model.

Caleb Skowronski

I interviewed my best friend Brandi Minnolera.  I interviewed her over Teams in my room. I chose her because I thought it would be easy because she has made such a huge impact on my life. She’s really important to me because we have been through so much together and I’ve never been so close with someone. Three things we talked about were her regrets, why she helped me and what her honest first impression of me was.


Jenna Snieszko

I interviewed Jocelyn Cryer, my oldest friend who I met through hockey when we were both kids. I interviewed her over the phone because she moved to Georgia at the end of August and we hadn’t spoken since she moved. I chose her because when I was thinking of someone who had influenced me the most it was her. She shared her bubbly and humorous personality with me since we were both kids and she was always the brightest spark of joy in my life for so many years. We played together for 10 years on both a girls’ team and a boys’ team and she was always my biggest supporter on and off the ice. In our interview we talked about what she is passionate about, what’s happening in our lives since we last saw each other, and our most beloved memories of our friendship.

Connor Streit

When thinking about who to interview for the Morrie podcast assignment, I thought of my dad. I interviewed my dad in my house. I chose my dad because he is very hard-working and has a great outlook on life. He believes that you earn what you work for. My dad is important to me because he has taught me many lessons about work ethic and showed me how to fix appliances and stuff around our house. The three things I talked about in my interview with my dad is advice he would give to younger people, regrets he has from growing up, and the sacrifices and preparation needed to start a family.

Kaitlyn Wery

For my “Find Your Morrie” assignment, I chose my mom to be my Morrie. I interviewed her in our house, and I chose her because she has always been there for me since Day 1. I can look up to her for a lot of things and she is the reason I got to where I am today. She is the most important person to me because she is a big role model to me, and I don’t know what I’d do without her. During our interview, we talked about her childhood, some things she did both regret and didn’t regret in high school, and lessons she learned.

Austin Young

I interviewed my favorite teacher in the world, Mrs.Griggs. I did my interview on Teams because she is now at Alden Intermediate School. Mrs. Griggs is very important because I think that she is very special, and we always laugh a lot. Three things that I talked about in my interview with Mrs.Griggs is if she always wanted to be a teacher, if she hopes to have the chance to teach high schoolers again, and other questions about her career in the field of teaching. It felt nice to reconnect with Mrs.Griggs.