By Kris Alvarez
Students in the freshmen seminar “The Bible Unplugged” attended the “Real Life Heroes” event at the Spiritual Center on Wednesday, Nov. 30, to share stories of personal hardship and adversity with students from Camden. The event was sponsored by Canterbury House, Cure for Camden and the Bonner Center’s Community Engaged Learning Day program.
“It was a good prospective,” said freshman Amit Singh. “It was really personal and I learned a lot about other students.”
Students shared tales about times of grief from the loss of loved ones to the experiences of living abusive childhoods. One of the students from the College, John Potestivo, shared with audience members the harsh conclusion of a relationship with his girlfriend, who, he swore was everything to him at the time.
“I believe a hero’s not a person at all,” Potestivo said at the beginning of his speech. “It’s a force.”
Monique Payne, a student from Urban Promise High School in Camden, told attendees of an experience of hers as a role model in her academic community. She explained the idea of community and demonstrated ways to make Camden a better place to live.
“It all starts with service,” Payne said.
Along with a selection of students from both Urban Promise and the College, other speakers included Kim Pearson, professor of journalism at the College, who explained her family hardships during the time of slavery.
“All we have to do is make our contribution in our particular moment, in our particular generation,” Pearson said. “In my great grandfather’s generation, that meant bearing the lash.”
Mark Doorley, director of the Ethics Program in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Villanova University, shared with students about his experiences living in Cherry Hill, a suburb of Camden, as well as the importance of being a part of a student’s local community.
“Everyone has a responsibility to do their little bit,” Doorley said. “So do your little bit.”
The speakers at “Real Life Heroes”shed light on the many ways to tackle personal misfortunes and how to remain resilient until the progression of life works in their favor.