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I arrived at the EOYDC in the spring of 1996 where I was running with the club track team and head Coach Curtis Taylor. Over the next several years I would work alongside Curtis Taylor as an athlete and student of the sport, learning how to improve my athletic ability as well as my team building and social skills. Curtis Taylor has immense knowledge of the sport as well as how to work with others in a team building capacity. As a teacher and coach he has allowed me to become a better athlete and a better person, as I have taken the many lessons from the sport on with me to college and beyond. Curtis Taylor is truly one of the greatest coaches and mentors I have had in my life. He continues to aid me in decisions and gives me sound advice. I am truly grateful for all that he has done for me athletically and academically.
The EOYDC has allowed me to spend these past few years with another incredibly influential individual; the Director of the EOYDC Regina Jackson. As director, she not only encouraged us athletes to take part in fundraisers to benefit the team, but to also take an active role in mentoring and tutoring other younger students through the homework center from the local communities. As a guide over these past few years, Regina Jackson has taught me about the importance of leadership as well as dedicating time to the community. For me she has encouraged me to pursue my passion for education and has supported me in my endeavors to push reform educationally for the improvement of local Bay Area schools. I have been fortunate enough to have been a tutor, mentor, counselor, and personal assistant, all under the watchful eye of Ms. Regina.
The memories that I have of both track and my time spent at EOYDC will last forever. The EOYDC is a second home for me, where I can always feel comfortable and welcome. I have been too fortunate to have made friends and been allowed to work with and alongside such talented and gifted individuals, like Curtis Taylor and Regina Jackson. Few people will have the opportunity to have the experiences I have been able to engage with, yet I make it a priority to constantly give back to my community, my school and team, and my Bay Area family. All loyalties stem from a dedication to a place that is filled with nothing but love and support for others. The EOYDC, its people and programs are truly unique because in a world where profit is placed over human need, it is refreshing to find individuals and places that still care about doing good for others.
Currently, I have been working with many outreach organizations here locally, as well as continuing my tutoring and mentoring efforts both at the high school and collegiate levels. While I have hung up my sprint spikes for the time being, I am currently coaching a few young athletes whom I hope to give the opportunities I had to achieve great goals. I am looking towards the future and graduate school seems to be my next challenge. It is my hope to ultimately achieve a position as a professor at a major university in the department of anthropology, African American studies, sociology or history. I plan to look at the role of minorities within civil rights and revolutionary movements that are predominately run and organized by African Americans. With particular emphasis on the contemporary era, I am interested in the role that these men and women, although not African American themselves, play within movements and organizations that seek to push change within an African American context. What role, if any, can an individual who is not African American play within a traditionally African American movement or organization? Does the role of non-African Americans somehow damage the message being pushed by such an organization promoting black unity or solidarity? Or does in fact their role as outsiders serve as a connection to the broader community allowing for further coalition building upon a larger movement? This line of questioning will no doubt expand as I plan to engage in self reflection, creating my own critical self-pedagogy, as I too struggle with these various issues, for I too am a participant and an outsider. Perhaps it is nothing more than a “John Brown Syndrome”, as one of my esteemed professors once suggested, out of control where identity and perspective have somehow been dramatically altered.
After successful completion of my PhD, I plan on continuing my research within the broader discipline of social science and pursue a career as a professor of this field. Thus far, I have had the opportunity to work as a teaching assistant to Dr. Arif Gamal within the department of African American studies at UC Berkeley for three years as well as tutor various students within the Athletic Study Center in the areas of African American studies, anthropology, writing as well as other social sciences. It is clear that the changes in population and culture of this nation and the world will require intellectuals to grasp, understand and synthesize these changes into an intellectual dialogue. While the facts and truths will be debated for years to come, I hope that I will have the opportunity to add my own intellectual perspective to this field and make real progress toward racial, historical and cultural understanding. Thank you EOYDC.
Web Note: Nick has accomplished many things in his short life. What wasn’t mentioned above is noted below because it’s too important to leave out. In the fall of 2002, Nick was selected to participate in the Georgetown and Howard University Fellowship Exchange. He worked at Friendship House- the largest, oldest community based service organization in Washington DC. In June of 2004, Nick was selected by his peers to serve as Valedictorian for Black Graduation for UC Berkeley. He had a 4.0 GPA in African American Studies.