By Toni Walker
What would Black Penn be without all of the amazing Black students who work hard everyday to deliver and excel? Well it wouldn’t be Black Penn. This week, The Vision is spotlighting sophomore Adrian Evans, also known as Ace. He intends on majoring in Communication with a minor in Africana Studies. Get to know a little more about him below:
What extracurricular activities are you involved with at Penn (or beyond campus)?
Outside of the classroom, I am involved with groups centered around service, mentoring, and blackness. In no particular order, other than alphabetic, I am involved with Ase Academy, Black Men United, CityStep, The Fellowship: Black Male Educators for Social Justice, Peer Advisors, Robeson Cooper Scholars, and SPEC-TRUM.
Which is your most meaningful activity to you, and why?
The most meaningful one to me is CityStep. In CityStep we go into local Philly elementary and middle school classrooms twice a week to teach lessons that promote creative self-expression and understanding through dance. I currently am the only black male within the group, and that representation is extremely important for all of the young scholars, but most importantly for our black male youth. Only 2% of teachers nationwide are black males, so it is unlikely that most of them will ever encounter someone who looks like them in that classroom setting, so I take a lot of responsibility in being one of the few, if not the only, black male role model for the young students. I believe that we, as men and black men specifically, are socialized towards violence as a means of expression and I hope that through CityStep, with its focus on creative expression, I will be able to teach them healthy methods of self expression and self care.
What’s your favorite quality about yourself?
My favorite quality about myself is my ability to keep my stress levels at a minimum. I never really stressed about school, but in the moments that I do get stressed and I remember two things that my dad says: “the work is gonna get done” and “you wanted to go to this school right?” He says them in a joking way, but I understand his points completely. For the first one, I am not going to allow myself to fail, so If I have a ton of work, why stress over it? It’s getting done one way or another and stress only makes that process more difficult. And two, I knew what I was signing up for when I applied early decision to Penn, so I try to always keep things in perspective, and if the worst thing I have to worry about during my time at school is academics then life is pretty amazing and I try to just be grateful for those moments.
What was it like working with Brian and implementing the Makuu Summer Impact Program over the summer?
Working with Brian, and the team he put together to create and run the Makuu Summer Impact Program, was one of the most transformational experiences I have ever had. The Makuu Summer Impact Program brings in rising 11th and 12th graders in the Philadelphia community to engage in college access and completion work, as well as interdisciplinary work that has a focus in education and activism. The program in total was 6 weeks; however, we spent the greater part of a month beforehand prepping and planning. It was such a great experience for me, because it was my first time being in a classroom setting as an educator for an extended period of time. Waking up tired everyday and being energized by the thought of seeing my students is a feeling that I can’t wait to have again. Brian was my pre-major advisor, and my first contact at Penn. To work with him on realizing the dream that was this Makuu Summer Impact Program, in less than a year from that first phone call about my freshman year fall classes, is just mind blowing. He has helped me achieve things I didn’t know were possible, *crying emoji*. I could really go on and on but I’ll sum it up with: Brian = GOAT.
What’s something about you that most people don’t know?
Most people don’t know that during junior year of highschool I had a near fatal injury playing soccer. Yeesh, that was dark, but we made it.
Who/what is your biggest source of inspiration?
Chance The Rapper is one of my biggest sources of information. His music carried me through my recovery from a near fatal injury, and since then I have been locked into his energy. “Chance found God, and I found Chance.” – is how I described it to my best friend. The spirituality, energy, and realness within his music empowers me in a way that few things do. I just try to replicate that vibe and that energy through my actions and words, especially when it comes to my interactions with youth that I am teaching and or mentoring.
What has been your best memory at Penn so far?
I have a terrible memory, so I’d have to say late nights in 4Red with all the usual suspects… you know who you are.