Tracey Pfuhl Schaper, a 1990 SJC Long Island graduate, says she will never forget the day she met her best friend, Illene MacMonigle Shafranek.
Shafranek, also a 1990 graduate, hobbled into her Children’s Literature class, taught by Sister Grace, trying not to drop her books while using her crutches. After class, when Schaper noticed Shafranek again struggling, she offered to help carry her classmate’s books to her next class.
And the rest was history.
The duo quickly became inseparable. In college, they played on the softball team together — Schaper was a pitcher, and Shafranek a catcher.
“Many times I would call ‘time’ in the middle of the game, acting as if I was giving her a pep talk,” Schaper recalled in a questionnaire collected by the Office of Alumni Engagement in honor of I💛SJC Week. “But I would actually walk to the mound, so we could discuss what we were doing that night. We loved it!”
After the pair of SJC best pals graduated with child studies degrees, they stood side-by-side for so many of life’s other major accomplishments.
“Together we graduated, got engaged, taught preschool, were in each other’s wedding parties and raised our children,” Schaper said. “We’ve been through the high of highs together and the low of lows. We live in different states now, but that is irrelevant. We are family.”
Today, Schaper works as an adjunct director of a before and after care center, while Shafranek owns a tutoring business.
Finding your lifelong bestie at St. Joseph’s
Schaper and Shafranek are one of many heartwarming St. Joe’s BFF stories.
Here’s a sampling of other alumni who found their best friends on campus at St. Joe’s:
- Class of 2015 graduates Emma Tapada, Catherine Lamb, Jennifer Joniak and Meghan Sullivan hit it off at freshmen orientation in August 2011. The group of four besties grew closer as they worked on different degree paths within the Honors Program. They traveled to Italy together through the Honors Program in 2013, bonding over gelato, while making unforgettable memories. Today, they are employed as a 6th-grade math teacher, an Applied Behavioral Analyst, a speech-language pathologist, and a librarian, respectively.
- Jamie Stidd and Stevi Dessey, both 2008 graduates, grew close through their mutual love for crocheting, crafting and child studies classes. The pair supported each other through a lot of tough times in college, including Stidd’s mother passing away after a battle with cancer. One of their most memorable BFF moments was participating in an SJC trip to Manhattan to see the musical, “Wicked.”
- Rachel D’Arpa ’17 and Stefanie Cronin ’15 became quick friends during SJC Rush Week for the Kappa Beta Gamma Sorority. Throughout their years at St. Joe’s, they participated in events on campus — a drive-in movie at SJC Long Island was the first film they viewed together — and found a home in the Greek life community. Now, with D’Arpa working as a marketing entrepreneur and Cronin as an event coordinator, they look forward to a long adult life as best friends. When they retire, you can expect to find them still side-by-side frequenting trendy brunch places with unlimited mimosas.
- Christina Rietta ’13 ’15 and Amanda Lubliner ’13, both teachers, met during freshman orientation. Lubliner lost her phone and Rietta stepped up to help her find it. Together, Rietta and Dubliner joined clubs and found the perfect partners in crime to navigate college life with. Among their favorite memories: commencement and Lubliner standing as a bridesmaid in Rietta’s wedding!