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Travis Smith '09

Alumni Relations | Strength and Conditioning & Basketball Coach

Q: What is the impact that our Black students, faculty, and alumni have on our community?

A: “I think a big part of becoming an adult and being a complete person is being a part of a diverse community. Whether that’s socioeconomically or racially diverse, good things can happen from that. Being able to see and hear different viewpoints and being a part of different conversations, whether you agree with them or not, or different views from how you were raised makes you a well-rounded person. I came to Porter-Gaud in middle school and it was a lot different than the school I came from, but I felt like when I went to college I was a more well-rounded individual. I was comfortable in any kind of setting and I could talk to anyone about anything, which some of my peers and guys on my team were not. I think for Porter-Gaud as a whole, we are a microcosm of the world, it’s our own little bubble. The more diversity we can have in that bubble and different views we can have in that bubble the better our community will be overall and we will shape the minds of the kids of the future. A lot of our alumni go on and do great things and have a lot of status in the industries they are in and so we are shaping individuals at a young age to think outside the box and be willing to have conversations with people they don't necessarily grow up with, look like, or are from the same area as them. We create that and foster that inside of them at a young age and by the time they are decision-makers and in places of power as an adult, that only helps the overall community and betters everything that is going on.”

Q: When you reflect on being black what comes to mind? What are you most proud of?

A: “Everybody should be proud of the skin they are in. If you’re Black, White, Hispanic, Asian that’s the way you were born and you have a culture. That’s your family’s legacy so you should be proud of that. Being Black and being from Charleston, we have the Gullah-Geechee culture and I love it. From having an accent, to the food we eat, to our family structure I think it’s awesome. My blackness is definitely a part of me; I love it. I’m most proud of the perseverance of Black Americans. If you think about the trauma of coming from Africa and being transported to America as slaves, a lot of families or legacies ended. Especially being from Charleston, one of the major ports of the Atlantic slave trade, and knowing that I’m still here is powerful to me because that means my ancestors went through everything just for me to be here and that gives me strength. To know that I can get through pretty much anything if my ancestors were able to get through what they got through, and through God’s grace I’m here, that’s what I’m most proud of being Black.”