Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Jennifer Cancellaro, 94 – “It was worth it!”

As we continue our year-long countdown to Post University’s 125th Anniversary, we want our celebration to include not only our current students, faculty, and staff, but also the many alumni throughout Post’s history who have helped to shape the university we are today. So, we are reaching out to our alumni who attended Post University throughout its history— to ask for their stories and memories, of Post through the decades.  We will spend the next year collecting these stories through print, and audio and video recordings that we will share as part of our 125th Anniversary celebration. If you would like to participate in our “Post Through the Years” project and share your memories of your time as a student at Post, please contact Bob Sembiante at bsembiante@post.edu.

Don Mroz, Ph.D.
President of Post University

The third profile in our series introduces 94 year-old Jennifer (Pomponio) Cancellaro.  

“It was worth it.”  Post University graduate Jennifer (Pomponio) Cancellaro, now 94 years old and one of the school’s oldest living graduates, knows the time spent at then-Post College in the late 1930s was necessary.  As a student at Waterbury’s Catholic High School, a school with a reputation for empowering women with education, Jennifer knew she had to prepare herself for the post-high school business world.   Her Waterbury home in the city’s Washington Hill section was within walking distance to Post’s downtown campus building, and she enrolled.  “I knew it was something I had to do,” she says, “and I made good use of it.”

Photo of students posing for a class photo in 1938.
Jennifer (Pomponio) Cancellaro in her 1938 class photo. 
It didn’t take Jennifer long to find her route to success at Post.  Studying Typing and Shorthand, Jennifer soon learned that advancement depended on successful completion of each class’ goals.  “Once you achieved 120 words per minute in Shorthand, you moved on, and once you typed 60 words per minutes, you were ready.  That’s the way it operated.”   Finding the programming “intensive,” Jennifer found if you were aggressive at Post, you benefited sooner and better.  “The methods used prepared me for my future life, and I certainly owe the school a lot for that.”

Jennifer has strong memories of her class in Handwriting.  Harry Post, the school’s principal, taught that himself, and according to Jennifer, “he worked hard to get students back into the Palmer Method, after scribbling our way through high school. I can still see him, drawing big circles on the chalkboard.” 

Upon graduating in 1938, Jennifer entered a difficult job market but persisted until she landed her first job in an office at St. Louis Service, right around the corner from the American Brass Building on Meadow St.  Jennifer remembers the job well.  “I handled accounts receivable, and was paid all of $12 a week…fantastic, huh?” 

Jennifer's diploma from Post College in 1938. 
Jennifer was able to make a big jump in her earnings by passing 
the necessary tests to work for the State of Connecticut in Hartford.  She now made $70 a month, but 
had to pay $10 a month to car pool with others to work.  Jennifer remembers those trips being “the best part of the day!  There 
were two young girls, two men, and a driver, and we had a ball riding back and forth!”  Jennifer was working with the Highway Department in Hartford, and kept applying for new positions within the department to get closer and closer to her home in Waterbury.  Commuting was fun, but tough, as there was no Route 84 at the time.  Eventually, her persistence paid off and Jennifer found herself back near Waterbury.  She now resides in Wolcott.

One of Jennifer’s fondest mementos is her Post College class photo, with all her classmates names on the back.  Looking back, she’s proud of her accomplishments and of all the places her education brought her.  Like her frequent trips to and from Hartford while working her first job out of college, Jennifer enjoyed the ride.  And found the entire journey to be “worth it.”