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Jordan Runtagh ‘03

jruntagh_2Education:

    • Nashoba Regional High School ‘06
    • New York University ‘09 (Screenwriting)

Current Work:
I moved to New York City after high school to study screenwriting at New York University, and I’m still happy to call the Big Apple home. After graduation I was hired by MTV Networks as an entertainment writer and associate producer for VH1 Digital Media. It’s fun because every day is so different! Some days I’m on journalism duty, writing up breaking news stories from Hollywood and beyond for VH1’s various blogs. Other days I’m cutting together behind-the-scenes film footage or compiling fashion photo editorials. Every now and then I help out on the live morning television show, and occasionally I get to interview up-and-coming bands for the websites. I love music with all my heart, so to me that’s the most exciting part of the job!

Favorite Applewild Memories?:
I have so many wonderful memories of Applewild, it’s impossible to pick just one. Probably my favorite moments were when the entire school would gather together. It felt so good to be wrapped in such a big warm community. The Holiday Assembly in December was particularly exciting. It was such a thrill gathering in the upper gym (in the days before the Alumni Center for Performing Arts) to sing and perform for our friends and family. I have to admit feeling a little nervous before going out there . . . I’d never seen so many people in one place before. It seemed like millions! But all of the holiday cheer, coupled with the relief that I hadn’t messed up in front of the whole school, made for such a joyous sendoff.

jruntagh_1_1The fall Harvest Fair was also a highlight. As a ten-year-old it was really something special to watch your school transform into a carnival for a day! Even the teachers would get into it, painting faces, handing out tickets and judging pie contests. I couldn’t believe all of the incredible food to be had. It was like Thanksgiving came early!

But not all of my memories are of big events. Some are just little private snapshots that probably don’t mean much to anyone but me. In a lot of ways those are the best kind. I remember the way the floors creaked in the Crocker Building, and the way the bell sounded before grace at lunch time. I remember getting lost among the books in the information center, and also among the bushes during the long trek to the upper field. I remember having my ten-year-old mind blown when I learned that THIS SCHOOL HAS ITS OWN SWIMMING POOL!

Teachers:
At Applewild I met some of the most intelligent and passionate teachers I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing. When you’re ten every adult seems inconceivably smarter than you are, but this crew seemed especially brilliant! Though I enjoyed some subjects more than others, the enthusiasm of the instructors was infectious. In fact, I’d say that they all influenced me in some way. With all the energy they gave, how could they not? The teaching staff was incredibly generous with their time, knowledge and kindness, and I’ll always be grateful for that.

As a shy Applewild newcomer in fifth grade, Mr. Mullins went out of his way to make me feel welcome. He never missed a chance to say he was proud of us, and taught me a great deal about integrity, honor, and finding my feet as a kid turning into a young teen. The supportive environment Ms. Taylor cultivated in her Language Arts class made me feel comfortable enough to write creatively for the first time. What a gift! I can’t imagine what my life would be like now if I hadn’t had that encouragement. “The Younger” Mr. Goodwin had a vibrant Humanities class which ranks among my all time favorite courses, at any academic level. The man was incredibly articulate and seemed to know absolutely everything, but he was hilariously funny and never ever talked down to us.  As kids it meant a lot to be treated with such respect by a person as talented as he. Mr. Jones’s World History class helped expand our view to outside the leafy streets of Fitchburg. He taught us about the globe, and his current events assignments instilled in me the habit of keeping on top of the news.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank every coach and athletic instructor I ever had for putting up with me. Not what you might call “a natural athlete,” they taught me everything I need to know about patience!

Applewild Impact:
I’m sure I’m echoing the thoughts of many other alums when I say that Applewild helped sow the seeds for the rest of my life. The passions of the teachers helped ignite my own passions, and the relationships I made there will always be precious to me. I can’t think of a calmer, safer and nicer place to grow and start to find yourself. Applewild is never far from my thoughts. During a recent visit home, I happened to find a small framed picture of the Crocker Building in an antique store. Now it hangs in my living room. So a little piece of Applewild is always close to me. It’s a reminder where I came from and the gifts it gave to me.

Posted: January 23, 2012

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