Last Friday morning 10/11/19, our program featured Mr. Nakia Douglas who has quite a distinguished career in education. Nakia currently works on staff at UNT Dallas as Executive Director of TRIO and Pre-Collegiate programs. He began by opening a copy of a Dr Seuss children’s book and reading…
You have brains in your head You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. – Oh, The Places You’ll Go!
From there, Mr. Douglas outlined his formative years growing up in south Dallas including some difficult life lessons along the way. Most importantly, he shared his mother’s declaration that the best gift Nakia could ever give her was to be successful in school. Education would be his ticket to better opportunities and a brighter future.
Soon thereafter, Nakia got involved in the Upward Bound program which put him on the SMU campus on Saturdays and during the summer. That program proved to be instrumental in his life. As he approached high school graduation and looked to go to college he began applying for financial assistance and scholarships.
Being the go-getter that he was and having the unique name of Nakia, HE was selected for a $10,000 scholarship from the AKA sorority. The leaders of the sorority did not know they had awarded a MALE their scholarship until Nakia arrived at the presentation banquet. He was the first male to ever win that scholarship!
The Upward Bound program instilled in Nakia 3 key guideposts for him as he matured and charted his own future….
It would appear that Upward Bound and the AVID are similar in many ways.
His college years spent in North Carolina were good for Nakia as he learned to love the education arena. Most likely this was due to a seed being planted in Nakia as a child when he watched his mother operate a day care.
Upon graduation, Nakia came back to Dallas to take care of his father (who had left when Nakia was 4 years old). Once back in his hometown, this native of south Dallas was a teacher, administrator and “a unicorn.” (Nakia said this about himself due to his time spent as a black, male Kindergarten teacher.)
Mr. Douglas shared a number of stories and lessons learned over his entire career which has occurred entirely in south Dallas. He concluded with a strong challenge to each of us…
If you are who you are ALL the time, your character is going to come out.