Meet Dante Faison
Alumni Spotlight of the Week!
College & Major: Secondary Education Major, Towson University ‘22 Workshop: University of Maryland, Baltimore County 2016 Workshop Roles: Operation Specialist – Towson 2018, Washington College 2019
What was your first PeerForward experience?
I first got involved with PeerForward during the 2016 Summer Workshops. It provided me with the tools to make our campaigns back at Frederick Douglass High School a success and also gave me lifelong friendships and connections. With my PeerForward family, I always feel connected to someone on campus, whether it be just seeing someone with the shirt or the backpack or the actual friends I have that were a part of the program and now attend Towson as well. The check-ins and positive reinforcement from PeerForward have really influenced my college experience.
How did you impact your classmates as a Peer Leader?
I don’t think we talk about how much our stories matter or practice telling our stories in real time. Fortunately, I was granted that opportunity through PeerForward. I helped someone who was distant from the process of writing her story. I remembered my PeerForward coaches would repeat ‘our story is important’ and I got it, but then I looked around the room and realized other people might not have believed it that quick. So, I told her, “I got accepted off of my personal statement.” And she’s like “huh?” I said, “Yeah, I got wait listed, but I got accepted because it showed character.” A day later, she came up to me and said, “I would like to show you something.” She showed me her personal statement. It was amazing.
What does it mean to experience a workshop as a college student vs. a high school student?
It was jarring at first. It’s like watching yourself get set up for the play again. Setting the pick for someone else, knowing that they’re going to make the shot because you’ve already done it. And now I’m on my way to the finals, and I can help you guys get there. I want them to know that you have to put back in what was put into you.”
What obstacles did you experience pursuing higher education? How did you overcome them?
I was wait listed by the school I currently attend. I applied to Towson because a teacher told me it sets you up to be an educator in real time. At the time I applied my GPA wasn’t what they were looking for, so I was given a wait list package; it was kind of debilitating. The wind was out of me. I had been accepted into Virginia State University, which was my first choice. I should’ve been happy, but I didn’t feel complete. I didn’t even want to go to Towson, but when they told me I might not be able to, it was a hard pill to swallow. After two weeks, they sent me a package of acceptance. It was an elation that I have not felt before. I was meant to be here.
On your most challenging days, what helps you stay motivated to earn your degree?
Staying true to the belief, “It’s not about me, it’s bigger than me.” Representation and encouragement for and from my community is so important to the classroom experience. I can do that by being a black male teacher for students to identify with. All I’ve ever heard is, “We need more males in the classroom.”
If you could give someone the secret sauce to not only surviving but thriving, what would it be?
Time management; if you can somehow balance rest, reward, and work then you’ve got the secret sauce. If you put too much time into any of those three and its outbalancing the other two, you’re in trouble. It’s challenging at first, but once you get the hang of it, it becomes easier.