Dads bid their children adieu

Steven Stanley (left), joins his son, Rob Stanley (right), to register for classes for his freshman year. Steve Contorno

Steven Stanley (left), joins his son, Rob Stanley (right), to register for classes for his freshman year. Steve Contorno

By Brittney Foreman

This week, fathers and freshmen are saying hello and goodbye on the University campus. Since June 4 and through July 11, freshmen will come to campus for the summer registration program. Once on campus, they might attend different sessions pertaining to their college or take a Quad tour. At some point they will leave their parents to go register for classes. Then parents might relax in the Union and get ice cream from Serendipity while waiting for their son or daughter to come back.

Incoming freshmen are starting to say goodbye. How does dad feel about letting go?

“Well, it’s mixed feelings,” said Al Darwan, whose son, Adib, will be a freshman in Engineering. “On the one hand you feel good that he’s now grown up … flying out of the nest. On the other hand you have your own worries as a parent. It’s still your baby.”

Larry Cunningham, whose son, Kyle, will be a freshman in Fine and Applied Arts, said when he was going to be a freshman he looked forward to being out on his own.

“I think kids today build better relationships (with their parents),” Cunningham said. “Now, I think we’re forcing the kids out.”

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    Gerald McGee said he’ll miss his son, Jason, but it’ll be good for his son to start becoming independent. McGee, who has an older son at Eastern Illinois, said this experience is different because Jason will be the last child to leave home.

    “It leaves us as what they call, empty nesters,” McGee said. “It’s somewhat of a new phase for us … so we’re not sure how we’re going to feel with him being gone.”

    Some students said their parents can’t wait for them to leave.

    “He couldn’t be happier,” said Rob Stanley, who will be a freshman in the fall.

    “That’s not true,” his dad, Steven Stanley, said.

    They both laughed.

    “I’m nervous. I’m excited,” Steven said. “Not excited that he’s leaving, excited for him.”

    For some fathers, including Stanley, all this talk of letting go brings back their own college memories. Stanley said his son went to register for classes with high expectations, assuming he would get all of the classes he wanted.

    “He said, ‘I wanted this, this and this but got that, that and that.’ I go, ‘sounds very familiar,'” Stanley said.

    Besides Stanley being able to relate to his son’s experience, Rob said that he and his father have similar interests.

    “Me and him are one and the same … cars, sports … cars more than anything,” Rob said.

    Still, there are things that they don’t share in common.

    “Country,” Rob pointed to his dad. “Hard rock, heavy metal,” Rob pointed to himself.

    Rob also said he knows how to sing and play the guitar and bass.

    “You don’t have one instrumental bone in you,” Rob said to his father.

    Rob said they don’t take Father’s Day as seriously as most families. He said every once in a while he might get his dad a power tool.

    “It’s more like everyday camaraderie for a little while longer, until he leaves,” Stanley said.

    As students begin their exodus from one phase of life to another at the University, they said there are things their fathers have taught them.

    “Hard work, determination, perseverance (and) keeping your cool in a stressful situation,” Rob said.

    Jason McGee, incoming freshman in Business, said he thinks he gets a lot of his business sense from his dad.

    “My dad’s taught me … about money control, the best ways to use your money,” Jason said.

    Dan Cecchin said his dad, Tony Cecchin, taught him values and integrity. He added that his dad taught him how to be polite. Adib Darwan said his father has given him the sense to know what’s right and wrong, and a great work ethic.

    “He’s made me a more determined person,” Adib said.

    Darwan, Adib’s father, said he believes in leading by example and that he can’t preach what he doesn’t practice. As a matter of fact, both Adib and his father will be going to school in the fall. Darwan will be going for an executive doctorate of management degree at Case Western Reserve University.

    “I’ll beat him to graduation,” Darwan said.

    Fathers, through their leadership, believe their sons and daughters will do well.

    “It’s not an option for him not to succeed,” Darwan said. “I know he’s capable. He’s proven it.”

    Kris Phipps, father of new student Patrick Singer, said he has no worries about his son.

    “I’m very confident he’ll step right up and…be a good adult,” Phipps said.

    Tom Baskerville, said he knows his daughter, Kristin, will be successful but the transition is bittersweet and brings back memories of when she was younger.

    “I think it’ll hit us August 18th when she comes here … and we drive away and leave her here,” Baskerville said. “And we realize it’s a new phase of her life, of all of our lives.”

    Baskerville said he’ll miss playing tennis with his daughter, who will be a freshman in LAS. Stanley also said he’ll miss his son and he hopes he stays in contact. He said as a student progresses through college, things change. When a student is a freshman he wants to go home at first, he said.

    “By the time you’re a senior, your parents are calling in like, are you gonna come home for Christmas, are we gonna see you?” Stanley said. “You have your own life.”

    Ready to embark on their own lives some students realize that dad has always been there.

    “We’re pretty close. I love my daddy,” said Maegan Ellis, incoming freshman in Education. “I don’t see him that much because he’s a doctor, but when we’re together we never run out of things to say.”

    She said her dad has always been very supportive of everything she does.

    “I think she’s going to do fantastic here,” her father, Tony Ellis, said. “No worries.”

    “None?” Maegan said.

    “None,” her daddy answered.