September 20, 2020

Noelle Debes ’94

posted on: Thursday January 14, 2016

Editor-in-Chief 1993-1994

The first time I was published in The Cowl, I wasn’t on the staff. After receiving my first phone bill freshman year, I sent a Letter to the Editor about the importance (and low cost) of writing letters. At the time, I was still getting care packages from my parents on a regular basis and surprise $5 bills from my grandmother (with her hand-written note to “Buy a pizza for you and your friends”), and instead of thanking them with a pricey phone call I saved money by sending letters back.

A few days after my submission was printed, I received a letter from PC’s President Rev. John F. Cunningham, O.P. In it, he said that he shared my views about the art of letter-writing, and he enjoyed my writing style. His letter encouraged me to start writing for The Cowl. I was published two other times during my freshman year and soon became part of the staff—something that shaped my years at PC, and that has influenced me both personally and professionally since then.

I was appointed Editor-in-Chief for my senior year. Back then, we had computers but no Internet. We printed stories in Word documents, and cut & pasted them into the layouts. Ads were sent to us on paper and glued onto the news pages. We used red wax pencils and X-ACTO knives. And being at the office until 2 a.m. on Wednesday night to finish the final layout was a regular occurrence.

It was a great year for PC hoops (sound familiar?) and sports editor Matt Mlodzinski ’94 wrote in-depth basketball recaps on the shuttle bus back to campus after games. Comics by Greg DeMattos ’94 were meticulously hand-drawn in pencil. We had a pool of talented writers, seniors and underclassmen alike, with Ted Hazard, Dave McGuire, Christian Potts, and Anthony Zupka (all ’94) consistently raising the bar for articles and op-ed pieces throughout the year.

I spent most of my time overseeing and editing the paper, writing articles on occasion, but one of the biggest thrills was when the Gin Blossoms (Google it!) played at PC and would only do an interview with the Editor-in-Chief. I still wonder whether Fr. J. Stuart McPhail, O.P., saw the band share a toast (and a Bass Ale) with me backstage after the show…

I’m proud to be a part of this PC tradition and hope that my kids are still reading The Cowl when they become Friars. (Class of ’27 and ’30 anyone?)

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