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BA in History with Social Studies 7-12 teacher certification
Currently completing a Masters in Liberal Studies
“I feel passionate about educating all youth, no matter their background, race, or economic status. As the first person in my family to graduate from college, I believe everyone deserves to have an education.”
Antoun Davis has had many dreams in his life. From an early age, he dreamed of becoming the first person in his family to attend college. He also always knew that he wanted to go to The College of Brockport. And he aspired to teach and give back to the community—all dreams he has since realized. He is still working on the others: to complete his Masters in Liberal Studies, to marry and have a family, and to go to Africa.
While most students don't select their college until well into high school, Antoun has wanted to go to SUNY Brockport since the fourth grade. “We went on a class trip to the campus, and that moment was in my psyche from then on,” he says. “I just fell in love with the College.” Many of his favorite grade school teachers were Brockport graduates, but it was his older brother who inspired him to become a teacher. “When we were growing up,” Antoun says, “My second oldest brother wanted to become a teacher, and I really looked up to him. So I decided I wanted to teach too.” As it turned out, his brother never went into teaching but Antoun did. He earned his teaching certificate at Brockport in 2006 and is currently a substitute teacher in the Rochester City School District.
“Brockport has a reputation for producing some of the best teachers in Upstate New York,” Antoun says. And it taught him to “think outside the box” as a substitute teacher in the Rochester city schools. “When you substitute-teach, you could be teaching history one minute, math the next to all different grade levels. And you work with all different types of kids from all different backgrounds. Brockport helped me be more creative as a teacher. It taught me how to get kids to participate in their own learning, as opposed to me just standing up there lecturing from a textbook.” Antoun says his college experience also helped his writing and communication skills, and to get over a big hurdle for any teacher — public speaking.
As an undergraduate, Antoun was awarded a Ronald E. McNair Scholarship — a post-baccalaureate program that helps prepare under-represented college students for doctoral study. Antoun says, “The program taught me many things about myself, and it gave me the opportunity to network with wonderful people from across the country.” He also worked on campus, and was involved in Student Support Services and the Teacher Opportunity Corps program.
Antoun says his professors at SUNY Brockport inspired him to do more than he ever dreamed. “I had one teacher who really challenged me. She pushed me to do better than I was doing, and that really inspired me.” His current graduate school advisor also convinced him to get a Masters degree that would give him broader range as a teacher. “We sat down and my advisor recommended that I do Liberal Studies with a focus in education because I could do more things with it.” Currently, Antoun is considering going into Special Education.
As the first college graduate in his family, Antoun hopes he has started a tradition. “Now my little sister is at St. John Fisher,” he says. “I'm really proud of her.” Besides teaching, Antoun loves to travel, especially in the South, where his parents are from originally. “The South is so peaceful,” he says. “But I like to travel all over the US. And I would love to go to Africa one day.”
When asked to describe himself, Antoun says he is “more a listener than a talker, caring, considerate and spiritual.” He says going to SUNY Brockport opened his mind to “people from different countries and backgrounds, and to different ideas. It taught me to believe in myself, and made me think realize that I can accomplish anything I put my mind to.” With his strong sense of achievement and self-direction, Antoun's story is one of dreams destined, dreams fulfilled, and many dreams yet to come.