"...my mom has been a very big, important part of it because she’s the reason I really want to do all this. Then I can take care of her like she’s taken care of me my whole life."
I’m soooo impressed with this young man. He is probably the most level headed cat I’ve met in modern times. J Frank Pace has just started his freshman year at Morehouse after stellar high school performance. It’s clear that Frank will do well in whatever vocation he chooses.
PBI: First off Frank, congratulations on your success so far. Especially getting accepted to Morehouse. I hope more kids follow in your footsteps.
FRANK: Thank you. Thank you.
PBI: So to start off, how old are you?
FRANK: I’m eighteen.
PBI: And what high school did you graduate from?
FRANK: I graduated from City Honors High School.
PBI: City Honors? That sounds like a magnet school.
FRANK: Well, it’s a Charter school.
**In his modesty, Frank didn’t call his high school by its proper name “City Honors College Preperatory Academy”
PBI: Oh OK. Tell me, what influence would you say your mom had on your meeting your educational goals thus far?
FRANK: Well my mom has been a very big, important part of it because she’s the reason I really want to do all this. Then I can take care of her like she’s taken care of me my whole life. Basically, I was always taught to have good grades and stay focused on academics. I actually played sports in school as well but the rule has always been academics first before anything else. That’s what my mom taught me and I’ve always tried to stay on that path with academics before parties, sports or anything else. I just tried to focus on work so I can do all that other stuff later in life.
PBI: What sports were you involved in?
FRANK: I played in a lot of different sports but now I primarily focus on tennis. I’ve been playing tennis for about twelve years now. So I’m gonna try to get on the team here at Morehouse and see what’s up. Hopefully I can get even more scholarship money.
PBI: So c’mon man, we were talking about influence from your mom so... tell me about some of those whoopings and the good stuff!!
FRANK: (Laughs) I wasn’t really that bad so I didn’t have a lot of whoopings growing up. I didn’t get that many. I wasn’t allowed to get C’s though. A’s and B’s were the rule. So no beatings.. (LOL)
PBI: Nah, I was just kidding. But I know your mom would’ve put them paws on you if you needed it.
FRANK: Yeah, she would.
PBI: Tell me about the career path you see for yourself? What’s the future look like for you?
FRANK: Well I’d like to be an entertainment lawyer so I’m pursuing my law degree. I’m also interested in broadcast journalism so my minor is Communications.
PBI: As far as law, is this your first exposure to the legal field?
FRANK: No, I took a course at Southern California Regional Occupational Center during high school. They covered the fundamentals of corporate law and some entertainment law so it was a chance to get introduced to the subject and a sample of the course work. As for journalism, a friend and I had an online radio show during high school so I already have some informal background in communications as well.
PBI: What kind of funding did you get for Morehouse?
FRANK: Well, I got a $15,000 scholarship from the college itself. And then I have a $1,000 scholarship from the L.A. Chapter of Morehouse. So beyond that I’m in a work-study program and I have a federal loan.
What’s next for you after Morehouse?
FRANK: Well, I want to go on directly to grad school. My dream is to attend either Harvard or Columbia Law School. I don’t want to take any time off or take on a job because it’s easy to settle in and not return to school.
PBI: OK, I’d like to turn the page and ask some more philosophical questions. If you could see one thing change in this world in your lifetime, what would that be?
FRANK: I would like to see African American people uplift each other more. Sometimes it seems it’s more racism within the African American community than between us and other races. I would love to see us love each other up more and help each other out. I feel like with the things that are going on today like the Michael Brown case we should just come together and support each other. And just in general stop hating on each other and be supportive of each other’s dreams or careers. Just keep uplifting each other.
PBI: Speaking of the Michael Brown case, and Treyvon Martin and Jordan Davis, how do you incorporate the current cultural climate into your day to day? I mean, I understand you’re not “out in the streets” but, apparently, these days you don’t have to be to find yourself in harm’s way.
FRANK: Yeah, I definitely do think about it. I participated recently in a protest supporting Michael Brown and we’re organizing a ‘Don’t Shoot’ campaign here on campus. So I think about it and try to be aware of my surroundings and, if I do encounter the police, I just cooperate and follow the rules, even if I am being mistreated. Just get home safe and don’t try to be a superhero and get fired on or whatever they’re trying to do. I try to make sure I’m doing the right thing and make sure that the people I’m with are doing the right thing too. With all this stuff going on it just raises the awareness that racism does still exist. So we have to unify and be our brother’s keeper.
PBI: And what’s your Mom’s input on the subject?
FRANK: Well she just wants to make sure I’m safe. I don’t have any family out here in Atlanta so I keep her informed on what’s going on with me. I try to talk to her every day if I can just to keep her in the loop. And she has talked to me about how to handle myself if I encounter the cops. To not come off angry even if they are coming at me the wrong way. To try not to appear the aggressor even if you’re in the right and they’re in the wrong because they have that certain power. I just listen to her and try to heed her advice and try to do what I know is right.
PBI: Now that you’ve made it to Morehouse, you’ve crossed the threshold from being impressionable to being an inadvertent role model for younger kids that might look up to college students… that maybe want to get to where you are now. Or maybe they aren’t even contemplating college because of their circumstances or environment. What would you say to them from your new vantage point?
FRANK: My main advice would be to get your education. No matter where you come from or where you’ve been. Don’t let other people get in the way of getting educated. Just focus on what you’re doing and see it through. I tell people that college isn’t for everybody. And I do believe that. But you can still get an education in whatever it is you want to do. If you think you want to do music, go to the Music Institute and learn about it. If you want to be a mechanic, go to trade school and get certified and learn the trade. Education is for everyone. Even if it’s not in the classroom but more hands on. And it’s NEVER TOO LATE TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL. If you feel that your life is not fulfilled or you’re missing something or you dream about doing this or that… go do it. You’d much rather try and fail than never try and wonder if you could have ever made your dream come true. You never know what your life could be.
PBI: Well Frank, you’re wise beyond your years. I feel like I’m talking to my wise uncle right now. Hell, I might need to call you for some advice from time to time. I’ll lock your number in my phone.
FRANK: (Laughing) Thank you.
This young man is destined to do something great. I’d love to see where he is 10 years from now. God bless and protect this young man on his journey. Go get ‘em FRANK!!!!
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