Reflecting on FAMU’s Rattler resilience — Andscape

From the primary second I arrived on its campus in Tallahassee, Florida A&M has felt like dwelling to me.

My path to FAMU started in 2014 throughout my sophomore yr of highschool in Miami, after I attended a Dow Jones Information Fund workshop, hosted by FAMU’s College of Journalism & Graphic Communication. There, I met the college’s dean of the College of Journalism, Ann Wead Kimbrough, whose phrases of knowledge proved to be important in my determination to decide on FAMU and embark on a profession in journalism. “Make no mistake, it is a difficult, however nurturing atmosphere right here with our workers and college,” she mentioned. “I can promise you that your goals will come true right here.” And are available true they did.

The general tradition of the “FAMUly” neighborhood was the epitome of Black excellence, Black illustration and what it means to be a traditionally Black faculty and college (HBCU) scholar. Virtually everybody round me seemed like me and shared my similar targets to succeed and make the Black neighborhood proud. I fully submerged myself on this expertise and took benefit of each alternative to construct my scholar portfolio.

I ended my first yr of faculty by getting revealed within the faculty’s newspaper, The Famuan. The next yr, I grew to become concerned as a producer for The Playmakers radio present. In my junior yr, I used to be the sideline reporter for the Rattler Sports activities Community and wrote articles for HBCU Gameday. I continued as a sideline reporter the next semester whereas creating and producing The Willie Simmons Present.

An important connection I developed at FAMU was with my mentor Keith Miles, director of the Workplace of Communications and the previous voice of Rattler Soccer for greater than 30 years. Our relationship propelled my journalism profession and opened many doorways for me. Beneath his tutelage, I had life-changing experiences reminiscent of observing and ultimately working within the broadcast sales space. He was like my in-house father determine and supplied invaluable profession knowledge and perception. I’m perpetually grateful to him for believing in my potential and taking the time to assist me domesticate and increase my abilities.

I’m continually impressed by the accomplishments of my fellow Rattlers and reminded of their excellent careers simply by strolling by way of Tucker and Lee halls. FAMU alumni reminiscent of Kim Godwin, the president of ABC Information, and Tiffany Greene of ESPN, the primary Black lady to do faculty soccer play-by-play on a serious community, have confirmed something is feasible. As a fellow Rattler, Greene didn’t hesitate after I requested her to be a visitor on the Rhoden Fellows podcast final October. Though we’ve had totally different journeys, I believe we share the identical energy and go-getter traits that embody all profitable FAMU alumni — and it stems from the tenacious journey our faculty’s founders went by way of to ascertain our beloved college.

Thomas Van Renssalaer Gibbs, a Florida legislator, launched Home Invoice 133 in 1884 to create a standard faculty in Gainesville for whites and a college for African People in Jacksonville. Based on Oct. 3, 1887, and later relocated to Tallahassee, FAMU started with 15 college students and two instructors. The college now has an enrollment of greater than 9,000 college students and has supplied me with limitless inspiration and alternatives to community.

I believe I share our founder’s imaginative and prescient of resilience no matter any circumstance. I discovered this to be true after I handled my unlucky battle with COVID-19 final yr. Therapeutic whereas finishing my digital studying and Rhoden Fellowship, the inspiring story of FAMU’s evolution echoed in my reminiscence as a catalyst to maintain excelling regardless of the circumstances. To achieve the best pinnacles of life, identical to the “highest of the seven hills,” FAMU.

My HBCU has given me a chance to debate concepts and have interaction with the following technology of Black movers and shakers. My college has all the time inspired college students to talk up, and has supplied me with a platform to have interaction with native, state and nationwide political figures.

Certain, I’ll miss Fried Rooster Wednesday, Fried Fish Fridays, Set Friday, spending time with the Alpha Xi chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi, and dealing intently with FAMU athletics. The unforgettable recollections we’ve made have been one of the best moments of my faculty profession. The fruits of my experiences on campus has given me the assets wanted to dwell as much as my full potential.

As my subsequent chapter begins, I’ll always remember the recommendation of Miami-Dade County commissioner and FAMU alumnus Oliver Gilbert: “Don’t let the hill take over you, however you are taking over the hill.” I’ll maintain these phrases near my coronary heart as I proceed cultivating that “take over” mindset, wherever my journey leads me.

Calvin Sykes is a graduate scholar in sports activities science at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical College (FAMU) in Tallahassee, Fla. A local of Miami, Sykes was the sideline reporter for the Florida A&M Rattlers soccer from 2018-2020, program director for the varsity’s radio station WANM FM 90.5, and has written for HBCU GameDay.


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