by SHANNON GLEBA, Staff Writer
When I decided to attend Manhattan College during my senior year of high school in 2017, I realized that my decision came as a result of generations and decades before me. MC has been a part of my family’s history for at least 60 years, and I am thankful for the values I have learned from such an outstanding community.
As The Quadrangle explores the progress MC has made across generations throughout this special issue, I think it is also important to recognize the traditions that help make our school great.
During the early 1940s, my great grandmother Helen Caughey worked in housekeeping at the College. Living in the Bronx alongside her husband, she raised my grandmother Helene and my great uncle Howard near MC and fostered a love for the Bronx that has transcended generations. As time passed and my grandmother grew up, she found herself in love with my grandfather Joseph Gleba who lived in Staten Island.
After marrying in 1965, the couple moved back to the Bronx into an apartment on 238th Street and Bailey Avenue. In this apartment is where Manhattan College began playing an even larger role in the Gleba family history. Within two years, my grandparents had two children: my father, Scott, and my uncle, Michael.
As my father and uncle grew, my grandfather, who recently returned from the U.S Army, began working towards his degree at MC. For almost seven years, he attended night classes and graduated at the age of 35 with a BS in business administration in 1976. My grandfather’s story is just one of many Jaspers in the same situation as him.
Last year during one of my classes, my professor described the MC community as having “a certain kind of grit to it”. To me, being a Jasper means working hard, overcoming expectations and achieving goals despite the obstacles in the way. While my grandfather lived in a different time than me, he saw the value in an education from MC and worked for years to achieve it and used his “grit” to get him there.
About 10 years later, after graduating from Cardinal Spellman High School, my father followed in my grandfather’s footsteps and enrolled at MC to pursue a degree in marketing. In the same year, my mother also enrolled at MC and drove across the George Washington Bridge each day from Midland Park, N.J to attend as a commuting student majoring in economics. As the story goes, my parents met in their statistics class and after a few “study” dates, fell in love.
I remember hearing stories of their first kiss on the stairs up to 238th street by OV, conversations over a slice of Broadway Joe’s pizza, and late night romps through Van Cortlandt Park, and most importantly the happiness that MC brought them.
My parents graduated in 1989, and my uncle Michael graduated from MC the following year with a BA in government & politics and urban affairs. Following their graduation, my parents moved to N.J and got married in 1991, and had three children, with me, the youngest, being born in 1999.
Throughout the years following, the word Jaspers was a popular word in my home. My family and I would often return to the Bronx to watch Irish football in Gaelic Park and to eat the most delicious burgers at The Piper’s Kilt on 231st Street. While the Bronx has most definitely changed since my great grandparents made it home, the Bronx still holds a special place in my heart.
While I am nearing the halfway mark at my time here at MC, I am grateful to say that my experience so far has been even better than I could have imagined. I look forward to telling my own children about the Jaspers and the support I received, and hopefully encourage yet another Gleba generation to find their way to the Bronx.
While the women in my family began their time at MC in a housekeeper’s uniform, I am proud to wear a uniform that states that I am a Jasper each time I compete on the women’s rowing team. I am proud to carry on the tradition of writing for The Quadrangle as my uncle did during his time here. And lastly, I am proud to make my mark on the college as those in my family did before me.
Manhattan College is truly a place for all generations. For those taking classes at night while raising children, to those who commute from home, to those who come to Riverdale and live on campus. The grit we all have as Jaspers connects us and allows us to work together and carry on the traditions that have made Riverdale home for many since 1853.