Anderson Sainci (2010 Undergrad Business, 2012 MA Communications)
(Journey to Dubuque) I grew up in Florida with a single mother and threebrothers. I grew up kind of in poverty with my family. A strong mother and strong grandmother who supported the young men and gave us some core values: believe in God, always help people, and never stop fighting. So I had an older brother who basically came out to college here for wrestling. All of us are wrestlers, actually, so we have a background in wrestling. I wanted to get out of Florida because I didn 't want to stay in Florida and everyone kind of knew everyone, and I wanted to experience something new. So I had an older brother who was out here and an older cousin who was playing football for the University of Iowa, so I took my chances and came out to the University of Dubuque to wrestle. Wasn 't really thinking too much about the grades part of it, getting a degree, it was more just to wrestle and just enjoy life and do something different. Most people would think English is the first language I learned. It 's actually Creole. My mother is from Haiti, so the first thing that I learned was Creole. We say "slang," then I learned how to articulate things.
(Acad & Soc) Mr. Muzinga, I used to wonder about this guy all the time. He wasalways hilarious, but I always felt like he was on my case, always. I never understood why until now. He used to always say, "You know what? Wake up in class," or "Hey, push yourself harder. It 's not going to be easy for you as an African American male." It never really registered what he was trying to do was take me to a new level to make me understand that as an African American male in society nothing 's going to be given to you. You 've got to work maybe a little harder than anyone else. When I see him now, he just looks at me and says, "I 'm proud of you." I will always remember Mr. Muzinga for the work he did for me. I think he was the same for all of his kids of color in really just saying, "Hey, you 're not from this area. You 're not just gonna come here and think you 're just here for sports and not get this degree. You need this degree. You need to work hard. No excuses. Get up. Do your work." And a lot of us actually succeeded because of that.
(Acad & Soc) John McGovern was a father figure, growing up without a father.John McGovern went out of his way to make sure that all of his athletes reached their full potential. I wish I would have took advantage of it when I was actually in the process of wrestling and trying to be a national champ. It wasn 't until after my senior year (I didn 't finish wrestling because I had a hurt knee) really thanking him for not giving up on me and thanking him for just being a dad. Even today a lot of guys would say "John McGovern is a father figure" because he will go beyond what a coach is supposed to do for his athlete. If you needed a buck for a pop or an apple or something and he had a buck in his hand and it was the only buck that was going to last him the rest of the week, he would give it to you. There are so many great things that I can say about John McGovern. He 's an inspiration. He will forever have a special place in my heart, always.
(Life After UD) The Dubuque Black Men 's Coalition started maybe five years ago,and I 've been involved in the last two years. In a nutshell, that is a group of black professional, local guys who come together and basically say, "All right, let 's share our experiences with one another because you need that infrastructure in place." When I say 'infrastructure, ' I mean something in place that makes you want to stay here. If it 's people, if it 's grocery, it 's home, school, whatever that connects you here. A lot of people didn 't have that interaction where they could talk to someone about those feelings so that was created at one point for them to have that social network. Eventually as they built relationship with one another they said, "Ok, what can we do in the community to make a difference?" There was a need at that time with the growing minorities coming in, especially African American males. Teachers or people couldn 't interact with the kids, and they needed some type of support to help them. They reached out to the Black Men 's Coalition, say, "Hey, would you help us because we 're not really getting the reaction that we want out of these kids?" Or "Is it us? Is it them?" What we do is we build relationships with youth in the community. We try to paint a new picture. So if you ask the majority of those kids what they want to be when they grow up, it 's not surprising that they want to be a basketball star, football star, or entertainer, you know, the things that they see on TV. They never imagine working for the local government or being the head of John Deere or being the president at the University of Dubuque. And it 's not because they don 't want to, but no one has ever told them that they could or they don 't see someone that looks like them in those positions. We do a college tour. We bring them on campus - University of Dubuque, Loras, NICC - and we 're not here to say that you have to go to college, but we want them to see kids that look like them, probably in similar areas that they 've grown up with, and say, "Hey, there 's kids like you here. This is an option for you, and if this is something that you want to do, let us help you." Sometimes kids look at us and be like, "You don 't understand the struggle, Anderson. You don 't know what we go through." And it 's like, "Buddy, I 've been there, I understand, and I 'm here to say that you can make it out, too." That 's one of the things we try to do with the Black Men 's Coalition is make sure that kids understand that at the end of the day they can make it.