Alumni of Kennebec Valley Community College at this year’s graduation event; Theresa Desjardins is fourth from the right.FARMINGTON – An employee of Franklin Memorial Hospital was recently honored in front of roughly 2,000 people as the 2018 Distinguished Alumni of Kennebec Valley Community College at the school’s graduation last month.Theresa Desjardins graduated from KVCC in 2013 with a degree of Occupational Therapist Assistant. Under normal circumstances, her story may have flown under the radar, Desjardins becoming just another one of the faces in the crowd of 2,000. But her story stood out as a commendable one to the staff she worked with throughout her years at KVCC.Not only did Desjardins begin her college education at the age of 48, she began it after successfully battling two bouts of cancer.“I was intrinsically motivated to push forward and meet my goals, regardless of the looming prognosis,” Desjardins said during her speech.It was her journey through surviving cancer that brought Desjardins to her dream of becoming an OTA. After her second diagnosis, Desjardins was forced to leave work on disability, an outcome she struggled with. She said she couldn’t accept just sitting through the battle and began her own research of treatment options. That was when she found OT, a practice she tributes much of her recovery toward, as well as her ability to go back to work.She began taking the core courses for the OTA program at KVCC- classes such as chemistry that she hadn’t had since high school.“I just kept passing the core classes. I kept telling myself: whatever happens, happens, just push forward,” she said.After graduating, Desjardins learned that her local hospital, FMH, where she dreamed of working, didn’t hire OTAs. She took the news to heart, and began fighting her way into a position, using similar motivation that got her through sickness. Desjardins began working with FMH shortly after, and has been an advocate for the OT program ever since.Four years later, when Desjardins was yet again diagnosed with another form of cancer, she hardly missed a beat.“People look at someone who has survived hardship as this awesome person, but I don’t see it that way. I just get up and put my shoes on everyday,” she said.Her “tenacity, persistence, grace and personal leadership” were just a few of the qualities that made OTA Department Chair Diane Sauter-Davis nominate her former student for the award.“You are truly my hero. You have lived through so much and are thriving. With grace, dignity and belief you have taken responsibility for your life,” Sauter-Davis wrote.
The Harvard Polo Club has enjoyed a revival over the past six years, following a 12-year hiatus. Since the husband-and-wife coaching team of Crocker and Cissie Snow took the reins in 2006, the program, which dates to early in the 20th century, has blossomed to include both men’s and women’s varsity and junior varsity squads.The club is a blend of the competitive and the collegial. It faces off against some of the top college teams in the country and welcomes all skill levels. Beginners start by swinging a mallet while standing on the ground, then graduate to a wooden polo pony, and eventually to the real thing.“What’s most gratifying for me is working with so many interesting, sharp, and committed undergraduates,” said Crocker Snow ’61, who, like his wife, is an accomplished player. “Unlike many college teams, most of our players have no polo experience at all, and some have no riding at the outset. Those who get hooked put in a lot of hard work riding and practicing to the point that the varsity teams now have winning records.”At a practice in Hamilton, Mass., last fall, the more experienced riders and players helped the newcomers to ready the horses, and rode in tandem with them in an enclosed outdoor arena.“I have a longer way to go than most people on the team,” said freshman Ethan Samet, who had only ridden a handful of times before signing up. “But I feel like I have been getting better and better each time.”Recently the ponies hobnobbed on campus with polo enthusiast Tommy Lee Jones ’69, the recipient of this year’s Harvard Arts Medal. An avid polo player, Jones regularly hosts members of the polo club at his Texas ranch and at his home in Florida, and has donated numerous ponies to the Harvard program. The actor took part in the “Adopt a Horse Auction” held at the Murr Center to support the club’s efforts to purchase a permanent base, a small farm with a barn and riding ring adjacent to the Myopia Hunt Club in Hamilton, where the club has its home competitions.This summer, members of the club will head to Europe for a series of matches in Italy, Switzerland, France, and in England, where they will compete at the famed Guards Polo Club against a team from Yale University. Goal setting In the match, Amanullah reaches for the ball, eventually working her way toward her first goal. Minor adjustments Snow leans over to adjust a player’s saddle strap before heading to the arena. Out in the country Cissie Snow (on right, wearing vest) coaches her junior varsity women before their match against the University of Pennsylvania at their home arena in Hamilton, Mass. Snow and her husband, Crocker Snow Jr. ’61, lead the polo club. Horsing around The Harvard University Polo Club dates back to the early 20th century. Three of today’s players Jane Amero (from left), Mike Kapps, and Katie Gamble roll their ponies’ bandages before riding. Mallets Polo mallets stand at attention. Jockeying Roden (left) and Samet cast late-day shadows on the boards of the arena. Rose Lincoln/Staff Photographer Watchdog Poppy, one of the Snows’ two Labrador retrievers, keeps watch while ponies and riders circle inside the arena. Fanfare Players and parents watch on the offensive end of the arena as the women’s junior varsity team goes on to beat UPenn. The art of the mallet Isabella Roden ’13 (left), a varsity player, teaches newcomer Ethan Samet ’15 how to hold his mallet in the arena. Horse whisperers Heavy duty New rider Ethan Samet struggles with his saddle and saddle pad. Hoisted Helping Harvard’s Sarah Amanullah (right) get a leg up is opposing player Spencer Marston of the University of Pennsylvania. They competed at Harvard’s home arena in Hamilton, Mass. Idyllic The sun sets behind ponies and riders at the Harvard University Polo Club.
Robert Snodgrass put the Canaries in front before Alexander Tettey lashed home spectacularly to seal a 2-0 win. Marcos Alonso was sent off late on to compound a poor day for Gus Poyet’s side, who remain inside the bottom three and face a tricky test at title-hunting Liverpool on Wednesday. “We need to be ready to fight and stick together,” said Bridcutt. “We have to forget this result and move on and be ready for Liverpool on Wednesday. “The boss has told us how disappointed he is and we know what we need to do. A positive we can take is that our next game is only a few days away.” The former Brighton man admitted the Black Cats were not expecting such a stern test at Carrow Road and was quick to offer an apology to the club’s supporters. “Of course we are disappointed with the result, it was a big game,” he added. “It turned out to be tougher than we expected and it was one of those days for us – nothing went our way and Norwich were at us from the get-go. “I’m sorry for the fans who made the trip to Norwich, it is a long, long way from Sunderland and they deserved much more than that. Every game from now until the end of the season is massive for us – we need to keep fighting.” The win for Norwich takes them seven points clear of the bottom three with seven games remaining as manager Chris Hughton once again saw his side win when there was pressure on his position at the helm. Scotland international Snodgrass was pleased with the vital victory but is keen to keep the momentum running into the forthcoming games with fellow strugglers Swansea and West Brom. “It was a massive result for the boys and everyone involved in the football club,” he said. “It has been very frustrating at times but I’m delighted we have got the three points. When we have to win we produce and that is a sign of big characters. “It is a great result for the club all round and hopefully we can build on it because that is the only way we can get out of the relegation dog-fight.” Snodgrass’ opener was his third goal in five games, with the 26-year-old enjoying a spell of good performances at present – something he always believed would happen. “A season isn’t done in six months,” added Snodgrass. “I told people to be patient and to stick with and I would repay them and I feel as if I have done that.” Sunderland midfielder Liam Bridcutt is adamant the players are up for the fight of keeping the club in the Barclays Premier League following an uninspiring display in defeat at Norwich on Saturday. Press Association
Manchester City produced one of their best displays of the season as they took a significant step towards reaching the last eight of the Champions League for the first time with a 3-1 victory at Dyanmo Kiev.The away team overcame a nervy start to put in a vibrant, all-action pressing display that saw them take a firm grip of this last-16 tie courtesy of first-half strikes from Sergio Aguero and David Silva and a last-minute effort from Yaya Toure.Vitaliy Buyalskiy pulled one back for a much-improved Kiev after the break but Toure’s sensational curling effort was the perfect way to get City’s season back on track after a run of three straight defeats.Manuel Pellegrini came in for much criticism for fielding a team of youngsters in the weekend FA Cup clash at Chelsea, but the Chilean will feel this result justifies his decision to prioritise a competition where his team have flattered to deceive for too long.City have seen their Premier League challenge falter and their bid for the quadruple go up in smoke since the announcement that Pep Guardiola will replace Pellegrini in the summer, but they look to have rediscovered their fight and drive at just the right time.The result puts them in control of the tie ahead of the return leg in Manchester on March 15 and is the perfect boost going into Sunday’s League Cup final with Liverpool. –Follow Joy Sports on Twitter: @JoySportsGH. Our hashtag is #JoySports