Alumnus Tells Teens to ‘Take the Lead’
The Oswego Circle of Omicron Delta Kappa worked this spring
to bring a new sense of self-worth and inspiration to a group of at-risk eighth
graders from Oswego Middle School.
By teaching students how to harness their strengths, ODK’s
Take the Lead program brought college and middle school students together to
plan and host a Michael Jackson-themed school dance, with the proceeds going to
the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Newton Paul ’97, M
’99 spoke at the program’s luncheon and awards ceremony March 26. A sourcing
manager for Par Pharmaceuticals, Paul recalled a middle school guidance
counselor who told him he was destined to be a farmer based on a single
He went home and cried to his mother, who responded: “Is
that all you really can be?” In turn, Paul urged students to take risks and
think beyond their imposed limitations.
Paul’s family traveled from Haiti to America in the 1960s.
In his schoolwork, Paul and his brothers had to fend for themselves because of
their parents’ language barrier. The people who made a difference in his life
were like the members of ODK.
“We were very thankful for the teachers and the people who cared
that actually inspired us and took the time to help us develop,” Paul said. “We
all hail from different situations, but the one thing you do have is people
ODK member Lindsay
Norton ’11 said Paul was a perfect fit for the students in the program. They
first met when Norton was selected as the recipient of the first Paul Family
Scholarship, an award created by Paul to recognize students with outstanding
leadership skills and a profound sense of family.
The Take the Lead program was the first of its kind between
ODK and the Oswego School District and received praise across the board.
“Hopefully it’s an inspiration for them to believe in
themselves and believe they can accomplish what they set their sights on,”
Oswego Superintendent of Schools William
Crist CAS ’92 said. “This is just one other piece that allows us to fulfill
the dreams of our own students by being able to interact with the college.”
— Keith Edelman ’10
Newton Paul ’97, M ’99 encouraged Oswego Middle Schoolers to follow their dreams at a Omicron Delta Kappa luncheon March 26 at Sheldon Hall.
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