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Celebrating Black History Month: NWTC academic coach talks overcoming adversity

Wayne Walker
Posted at 3:00 AM, Feb 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-10 07:07:38-05

GREEN BAY (NBC26) — "Adversity doesn't build character. It reveals it," said Wayne Walker, Assessment and Academic Coaching Manager at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College. "So it's not what happens to you, but how you react to what's happening to you, and I would share that with anyone."

Walker shares that message almost every day. The Antigua native spent the first half of his life in the Carribbean, where almost everyone looked just like him.

"I never grew up really having to worry about race and all these different things that people who grew up in America had to worry about," he said.

Walker came to the U.S. to pursue a career in basketball; he played at UW Green Bay and professionally. Later, he started coaching young players, and today, he continues to coach, both on and off the court.

"It's certainly a good feeling to walk the halls of our college and see people that look like you, or see diverse people in general," said Walker. "But also knowing you can just pop in to one of their offices and have a discussion with someone who maybe had a similar experience to yours growing up."

NWTC has a Diversity and Inclusion Department, which focuses on creating initiatives and providing resources to students and staff to help create a more diverse and inclusive environment on campus. During this black history month, Walker hopes everyone takes time to reflect on the past, and take action for the future.

"It's a celebration of the work that black people who have come before us did and black people continue to do," he said. "The work that people did so we can enjoy some of the freedoms and love the lives that we do today."

As a person of color working at NWTC for nine years, Walker is proud to see how far the school has come as far as diversity and inclusion goes, he said.