#BlackHistoryMonth is the perfect opportunity to recognize and learn about the accomplishments of Black individuals through history. We continue the celebrations, and today we highlight Paul Noel, Director of Admissions at CW. We asked him some questions about Black History Month and this is what he had to say.
1. What does Black History Month mean for you?
Black history month is an opportunity for me specifically to take pride in the achievements, milestones, and hurdles that my ancestors have accomplished, while also witnessing the power it gives new generations to not only dream, but to put into practice ideas, and goals that could have never been fathomed by generations in the past. There’s many things I take great pride in, but at the top of that list is being a father to two young black boys who will have more opportunity to stretch their wings and grow thanks to the road paved by our ancestors.
2. How important is it for a minority student to obtain a college degree?
When you understand the process of “leveling the playing field” for minority students, the ability to obtain a college degree plays a vital role in that. The ability to normalize the pursuit of an education not only impacts the present for a student, but the impact that it will make for generations to come is what will really improve any narrative of a minority student, and community they may come from. Regardless of any new societal norms, education in my opinion is the key to unlocking any long term success for minority students.
3. What changes are you hoping to bring to our society by being in the Higher education industry?
Honestly my goal with getting into higher education nearly 15 years ago was to ensure that every student, prospect, family member, guidance counselor, I came in contact with had a clear and concise understanding as it relates to the resources available to them while attempting to further their education. Specifically, when you talk about minority students, or first generation students it generally boils down to the ability to gain access to resources which will assist them with taking that first step towards pursuing their education, and I have truly taken pride in ensuring that I can bring those resources especially to an underserved population.
4. A really inspirational book to celebrate BHM and that every CW student should read is? Why?
A book that I have read, and would suggest to every CW student would be “Black Birds in the Sky”, authored by Brandy Colbert. The book detailed the unfortunate events which lead up to the Tulsa Race Massacre. The objective behind my suggesting this read for our students is due to the fact that up until a couple years ago there wasn’t much light placed on the events that took place in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Reading this book drove me to learn more about the famed “Black Wall street” and just how thriving that community was, along with the effort and focus that they put into that community. I think it’s important that moments in our past are brought to light, but at the same time have the idea of what was black Wall Street serve as motivation to what communities can do when they come together as one, with a common goal.
5. What are your top 3 favorite singers/bands to celebrate BHM?
My top 3 singers/bands to celebrate BHM are Sam Cooke, Stevie Wonder, and Marvin Gaye. They were all staples in my household growing up, and honestly, when I think about their music, it's traditionally good memories that are connected to my upbringing. If somehow new to these artists, their music has been the soundtrack in celebrating true Black Excellence in my opinion.
6. The best advice I received when I was in college was?
The best advice I received in college was from my sports tutor my freshman year, and his advice was to remember that my path, my roadmap was made specifically for myself. Never compare your roadmap with anyone else’s as that’s the quickest way to get off track. Basically, as a student it’s important to focus on your individual goal, and the path needed to achieve it. Once you start comparing your path to the next student it can cause you to lose your way.
7. What CW students might not know about me is?
Something that I do during my free time which I take a lot of pride in, is I volunteer my time as a youth football coach. There are a lot of pro’s when it comes to participating in team sports as a youth, and having the ability to serve as not only a coach, but a mentor, a friend, and teacher to young kids in the inner city has been something near and dear to my heart.