Oct 15, 2019

All in a day’s work

Juan Villa / The Collegian

Mail call

By Joanne Lui
The Collegian

John Paley’s aging mail cart is running low on battery.

He can tell that it’s not running at full speed because he drives the cart for an hour a day, five days a week. So before he makes it to his first stop, Paley turns around and heads back to Fresno State’s mail service center.

Taking this small hiccup in stride, Paley transfers his canvas mailbags to another cart, equally old, but fully charged. Satisfied that the cart is moving at its normal speed of 10 m.p.h., Paley takes off to begin his mail route for the second time.

After two years, Paley, a sophomore at Fresno State, delivers his mail with the well-timed precision of a singer who knows every beat and every note of a hit song he’s sung the exact same way a thousand different times.

As he enters each building, he drops some of the bags in a corner while he delivers the rest. As he returns from offices, he exchanges the bags of outgoing mail he just picked up for the previously deposited ones, which he then takes upstairs to continue his performance. Occasionally, he will even slide a bag down the hall to a stop in front of the exact office it belongs to.

Paley knows who his fans are. He can predict which people in which offices will want to stop him for conversation, and he knows each of them by name. After a few minutes of small talk with the office ladies – they’re nearly always female – he walks down the deserted hallway toward the next office, the next building.

“It gets lonely,” Paley said.

At the end of his route, Paley returns to the mail service center. The large room is filled with rows of canvas mailbags hanging off hooks. An antique scale stands in a corner and the walls are plastered with decades-old Fresno State sports posters, including women’s basketball teams with big, feathered hair and bulky ‘80s clothing.

Paley stands at the most high-tech machine in the room, feeding stacks of letters through to be sealed and stamped.

“I’m over it,” he said. “The same thing every day.”

Juan Villa / The Collegian

Hip beats

By Kelly Lucus
The Collegian

When not in class, you can find Stephanie White at the Student Recreation Center teaching hip-hop dance to anyone who wants to learn.

“It has been a passion of mine for a long time,” White said.

The class is quickly becoming the most popular class being offered.

“This was my first time, but I really liked it, I’ll probably come back,” Fresno State student Teju Olubeko said.

White, who established the hip-hop class at the Rec. Center, had to fight long and hard to get the class added to the schedule.

She grew up in the state of Washington and moved to San Diego for school. She was in San Diego for three years and was a member of a dance club whose main focus was hip-hop. White found there was a lack of hip-hop classes being offered in Fresno after she moved here to continue her education.

“I could only find old school hip-hop, nothing new school,” White said.

This became her inspiration for starting the hip-hop class at the Rec. Center. She wanted to bring a new style and pop to Fresno’s hip-hop scene.

“People want to be like her, she makes you feel like you can dance,” said Lauren Balderrama, a Rec. Center employee.

Now White choreographs a new routine to teach in her class each week. She has about 10 to 15 regulars every session, but sees more and more new faces as the class progresses.

“I’ve never seen anyone leave one of her classes unsatisfied,” Balderrama said.

Her work takes her beyond the Fresno State campus and Rec. Center. White also teaches classes at Gem’s Fitness for Women and is a volunteer with the Clovis Police Activities League that helps train kids.

White’s newest feat is a personal fitness and nutrition company she started with her fiancé called FAST (family, athlete, student, teen) Fitness.

Though White has a passion for hip-hop, she says she does not want to make a career out of teaching dance.

“It’s a lot of work and fun, but you can’t dance forever,” White said.

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