All posts by Nicholas Paxton

The appeal of historically black colleges and universities

Historically Black Colleges and Universities have been a staple in Black education since 1837. They allow an opportunity for community, family, and a sense of belonging. So many times at predominantly white institutions, Black students feel like they have to fit in and don’t have people that understand them.

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Representation is everything. Being a black student at an HBCU is the most refreshing thing. You see black excellence and young black men and women thriving. When you see them win, it pushes you to believe that you can win. As opposed to what you see on TV, you’ll see unity. There are people there that really support each other and love to see their brothers and sisters shine. There’s a culture that’s just natural. You’re surrounded by like-minded people. Everyone knows how to get up and dance when that song comes on and what to do. There’s just a shared experience and love of being Black in America. This is great for many black students who are used to education systems working against them.

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One thing about HBCUs is that you will encounter professors who care about you. They aren’t shocked by your greatness, but they expect it. They believe in you more than you’ll ever believe in yourself. They expect and push you into continual growth. Seeing you thrive is their primary goal. They will make time to know you outside of just a student. They want you to push towards your own personal excellence.

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HBCUs give you a home environment. Being the majority helps make you feel comfortable and seen because you relate to things just from skin tone; it doesn’t even matter where people come from, but rather that shared cultural experience makes all the difference.

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You have a sense of security knowing the people around you have the same fight. They go to sleep worried about family like you and pray day and night about the inequality across America. They know the same struggles as you.

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With HBCU homecoming season having just passed, you can see how a school connects so many people with one event. Homecoming isn’t just a game or a day; it’s a week-long experience. It’s a week full of love, people putting on their best outfits, parties, and really everything you can imagine. The homecoming event entails tailgates, a parade, fashion shows, concerts, a coronation, and alumni returning to hang out with people they love. Homecoming is the embodiment of its name; people are coming back home to where they lived some of their best years. Homecoming also helps welcome new students and show them what it is like outside the classroom. Homecoming allows you to run into old friends or even make new friends.

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The student life at an HBCU is second to none with the Divine 9 [fraternities and sororities]. Also, the HBCU Marching Bands are the best in all aspects, with drum majors, dancers, and majorettes on top of that. They also have events centered around having fun as a community.

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HBCUs allow many opportunities religiously with Gospel Choirs, Chapel, and so much more. Many of them are built on faith and also service. They are full of community service, giving back to others, and excelling at doing more for others.

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Special thanks to the current Director of Liberal Studies, and Psychology professor at Hampton University, Dr. Tamara Monet Baldwin Williams (Spelman College alumnus). Also, thank you to two current HBCU students who provided their experiences – Amaya Short, Hampton University, Class of ’25, and Bria Williams, Howard University, Class of ’26.

Nicholas Paxton is a Senior Member of the Multimedia Journalism class.

“Our goal is to be playing on Nov 18 at Navy-Marine Corp Stadium”

Mount Saint Joseph Football started their conference schedule with a dominant 40-0 win over Loyola Blakefield, a 35-14 win over Gilman, a 23-7 win over McDonogh, and a 33-22 win over defending champion, Calvert Hall. The Gaels have clinched home-field advantage for the first round of the playoffs. Junior Quarterback Winston Watkins has thrown for 10 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, helping push the Gaels to victory.

Photo of #51 Nick Paxton, #3 Bryce Cox, #6 Winston Watkins

In an interview with The Baltimore Banner, Head Coach Dominic Damico said, “We’ve had really good preparation (for the conference season),” he said about a team that lost a close game to St. Ignatius of Ohio before suffering a 52-14 setback to Washington Catholic Athletic Conference power Our Lady of Good Counsel. “We were ready to play.”

The Gaels’ defense gets the first-down stop.

Many believe the Gaels have already faced the best teams they will face all year. The loss to Good Counsel really helped motivate MSJ. With their wins against Loyola Blakefield, Gilman, McDonogh, and Calvert Hall they are currently the number #1 seed in the A Conference.

The Gaels prepare for battle.

The Gaels starting defense has been stellar, only allowing 29 points in A-Conference play. With these dominant performances, it’s hard to deny the excellent form of the Gaels’ defense, with a combined 128 tackles and 20 sacks this season by Sahir West, Deshaun Merrick, and Nick Paxton.

Through 4 games, the Gaels have dominated their opponents. The Gaels this year have a mission in mind and are focused on reaching their ultimate goal – a championship. Coach Damico says the reason for this start is that “We have a great group of seniors who have bought into the culture, they practice hard and play hard in the game.” He also added, “The focus of this group is getting better every week.”

The Gaels led on the field by #11 Sahir West.

With this new focus and constant improvement, Coach Damico said, “we have set the bar very high for this group; our goal is to be playing on Nov 18 at Navy-Marine Corp Stadium.” Also, with the added motivation of a first-round exit last year, they have shown they want to take what’s theirs.

Nicholas Paxton is a Senior Member of the Multi-Media Journalism Class.

Could this be a championship season for MSJ Football?

The Varsity Football team is primed for a stellar MIAA season this year. Photo Credit: Andrew Foster

The Varsity Gaels Football Team looks primed to compete for the MIAA championship. The Gaels have arguably the best defense in the MIAA (with an average of 12 points given per game last year). With an explosive offense led by Junior Quarterback Winston Watkins, with many talented wide receivers, running backs, and offensive lineman. 

The Student Section always shows up for game time. Photo Credit: Andrew Foster

With being the #29 team in the nation in 2019 (Pre-Covid), and being the #2 team in the A conference in 2021, they knew that this season would be a dominant one with most of last year’s starters returning. With multiple schools losing their best players due to transferring, MSJ has managed to keep its core players. Thanks to this, Saint Joe has a fantastic opportunity to reclaim their title as best in the MIAA. They have a team full of hungry players who remember the sting of their Semi-Final exit last year. 

The plan for the season is complete domination, with the team’s focus continuing to dominate through all 4 quarters. With the addition of 6 new coaches, this year’s team looks more like they will reach the ultimate goal.

Varsity Football is led on the field by Joe Gael. Photo Credit: Andrew Foster
Photo Credit: Andrew Foster

The team is looking forward to having games against great teams to prepare them for the championship. They played St. Ignatius in a match many thought would be a blowout and MSJ held its own. Even though they came up short, they opened a lot of eyes. The team also has a game against the #35 team in the nation, Good Counsel. 

The Gaels will come into league play starting off hot on September 24, against Loyola Blakefield. Then for the rest of the season, all of the other games are league games. These games will determine if they will reach their ultimate goal. MSJ looks to claim the #1 seed to ensure home-field advantage for the first round of the playoffs.

Nicholas Paxton is a senior member of the multimedia journalism Class.