David Hernandez ’71
My name is David Hernandez and I am a 1968 graduate of John P. McCaskey High School in Lancaster. While at McCaskey, I was given the option of being on the school newspaper, The Vidette, the yearbook, The Echo, or participating in theater due to my grades in English. I chose the newspaper and wrote news articles. During my senior year I started assisting the Sports Editor with articles.
I graduated from McCaskey on a Thursday and the following Monday, I started at Millersville State College with a 7:30 a.m. English Composition class with Mr. Patterson, a class we were told in high school that we would dread. I introduced myself to the advisor to the Snapper, Mr. Earle M. Hite, and I wrote several articles for the two Summer issues. In the fall, I received more assignments and wrote news and features articles. I hung around the office and helped wherever I was needed and also helped write headlines. At some point, I gravitated to writing more sports articles and covering sports events which led to my selection as Sports Editor and Sports Columnist. I resigned as Sports Editor because I found myself overloaded and not being able to devote the time needed but remained as Sports Columnist. During my time as Sports Editor, there was an emergence of women sports and I strived to provide as much coverage to women’s sports as to men’s sports.
I served on The Snapper Staff from June of 1968 until August of 1971 and yes, I did graduate in three years.
I served under three different Advisors/Directors of Student Publications:
Earle M. Hite
Rollin C. Steinmetz
Leah G. Fudem
I was closest to Mrs. Fudem. I met her children and grandchildren. Whenever her daughter came to visit from Venezuela, she invited me over so that we could converse in Spanish. I remained in contact with her until her death.
Mrs. Fudem also had me edit the sports sections of the yearbook and hand-book and she referred to me as the editor though I did not take credit as such.
When Mr. Hite was the advisor, Dr. Gerald Weinberger published a parody of The Snapper called The Crapper. Dr. Weinberger was highly critical of the fact that Mr. Hite did the layout for the Snapper and not the editors. Once Mr. Steinmetz came on board, the editors started doing their own layouts.
One memorable event was the time we suffered several long power blackouts as we were trying to put The Snapper to bed. The linotype machines used to set print back then required around 45 minutes to warm up and we finally went home and came back later to finish editing the paper.
Mrs. Fudem asked me to organize the Student Publications Banquet in 1970 and I was in contact with Larry Shenk, the Public Relations Director for the Philadelphia Phillies who was also awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award. I also had contact with Phil Itzoe who was the travelling secretary for the Baltimore Orioles,but he was unable to attend because the Orioles were on a road trip. I also dealt with By Kinzter, Sports and Program Director of WGAL Radio. I served as Master of Ceremonies for the banquet.
My term as Sports Editor, columnist, and reporter allowed me to meet all the coaches of men’s and women’s sports. I got to know Dr. Gene Carpenter, Head Football Coach in a more than casual mode. I kept in touch after graduation and when I would show up at football practice, he would always come and to talk to me. I also saw him at university and alumni functions. Shortly before he retired, he saw me at a University function, came up to me, put his hand around my shoulder and told me he had been going “through his things” and came upon a picture of the two of us together. He said, “We have known each other for a long time.” I have also met other coaches since graduation, they usually recognize me and we usually chat about our time at MU. I also got to know many of the administrators in my role as a sports reporter.
The continued development of writing skills while a member of the Snapper staff served me well in my professional career and I received kudos for my writing skills. Later, I developed a good grasp of basic statistics and I was often called upon to write reports and position papers for managerial decision making which included narratives, statistics, interpretation of data and statistics and recommended actions for managerial decision making.