From heart-sick and road-weary to Harvard

first_imgThis is one in a series of profiles showcasing some of Harvard’s stellar graduates.James Venable knows life can be brutally unfair. But now he also knows such a bitter truth will never define him.After Venable graduates in May with his bachelor’s degree from the Harvard Extension School, he will head to Yale Divinity School for a master’s in divinity (on a full scholarship). His long-term plan is to return to Harvard for a master’s in theology, and then go on to Princeton University for his doctorate in African-American religion.“I have strong aspirations” said Venable, whose ambitious goals are partly the product of an early life marked by poverty, loss, and rejection. Where others might have been laid low, Venable has soared, using his suffering “not as a crutch but as a stepping stone. I embraced it … and now people are taking me seriously.”That yearning for respect and recognition springs from neglected roots. “I’ve learned through the proverbial school of hard knocks,” said Venable on a recent afternoon as he described his childhood in Baltimore, Maryland. His father was in prison when he was born James Louis Taylor in 1972; his mother abandoned him when he was a year old. By his ninth birthday, he had been in six foster homes. Hope arrived with a caring couple, Theodore and Melvina Venable, who adopted him in 1981. A year later, Theodore died from a heart attack. When James was 13, Melvina succumbed to cancer and he moved in with her sister’s family, who he says neglected and abused him. All that pain and adversity “made me what I am today,” Venable said. “I am not bitter but better. I have a strong relationship with the Lord. I am seasoned. I never make excuses. I am quite hard on myself. I am disciplined. I am always pushing myself to do better. … My weakness has become my strength.”“Those were some arduous times,” he added. “That leaves a lot of scars, when you don’t have anybody in the household to embrace you, to tell you that you can become something great. Rather, they are telling you what you are not.”School offered little solace. He was eager to learn, he said, but his special education classes gave him nothing to aspire to. “I was not exposed to education excellence with other students who were deemed smart … special education is a particularly cruel fate in a large urban school system like Baltimore.”Briefly homeless after high school, he took shelter in an abandoned bus in 1991, where he realized “if no one is going to believe in you, you’ve got to believe in yourself.” There were more trying times ahead, but Venable, who had become a born-again Christian when he was 15, knew his faith in himself and in God would sustain him. A traveling job selling cleaning products saved him from the street and taught him to “never take no for an answer.” He also learned to associate himself with “people who are where you are trying to go.”Later, at the urging of a friend, Venable moved to Texas for college, but he couldn’t afford to finish. More sales jobs followed, as did marriage, in 2003, and his own window-washing business. But the desire to learn never left him. Eager for people to take him seriously, Venable began lying about having a master’s and a doctorate. “I was profoundly discouraged about not having those degrees. I should have had it by then.”Eventually, Venable realized he needed to be “truthful with himself” and to go back to school. In 2014, he came clean about his fake degrees and enrolled at the Extension School.“As a born-again believer, I maintain nobody is called to help everybody, but everybody is called to help somebody. I felt the call to become a constructive agent of change to impact the marginalized, the academic, and the religious communities. That’s my calling and my Harvard and Yale educations will prepare and equip me to accomplish that task.”Since 2015 he has been flying to campus a few times a month from his Texas home, studying subjects including religion, leadership, psychology, and sustainability, and excelling at all of them.“I got a tutor and I was determined to never make under an A-, and I did.”Of the hundreds of students Harvard doctoral candidate Kythe Heller has tutored at the Extension School, Venable stood out. “James is the most motivated, the most over-the-top enthusiastic and committed and completely dedicated and remarkable student that I have encountered in all of that time,” said Heller, who worked with Venable in 2015 on how to craft an academic essay. She praised him for creating “a sense of elevation and enthusiasm in his mode of engaging with the world.”“I really have a sense of someone who has a job to do in this world in a larger capacity and who is willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen.”Cornel West, Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy at Harvard Divinity School, advised Venable on his thesis, “African-American Religious Culture and Constitutional Questions of Religious Freedom.”“I’ve been blessed to be his thesis adviser here. He has written a magnificent piece of work on religious liberty in America, especially as it relates to black people,” said West. “He writes superbly, he writes clearly, he writes succinctly. His mind is very subtle. He’s got a critical intelligence that one rarely finds in any generation.”Venable smiled as he reflected on where he been and where he is headed. His ultimate goal, once his schooling is complete, is to become a senior pastor at his own church and spend his days helping lift others up.“I want for people to take me seriously. I want them to see that Harvard takes me seriously, and that I am taken seriously at Yale. It’s letting people know that my getting here wasn’t a mistake. When I think about it, I still feel it. From there to here, it’s a miracle.”last_img read more

Rape reported

first_imgA rape was reported Thursday to a University administrator, according to the Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP) crime log for Friday.The alleged rape occurred April 2 in a Mod Quad men’s residence hall, according to the entry.Students did not receive an email crime alert from NDSP alerting them that the report had been filed.“There are a number of factors that come into play when deciding whether to send [an email] or not,” University spokesperson Dennis Brown said in an email. “The timeliness, or lack thereof, is one, but other components in the fact pattern also are taken into account.”Information about sexual assault prevention and resources for survivors of sexual assault are available online from NDSP and from the Committee for Sexual Assault Prevention (CSAP).Tags: Clery Act, rape, sexual assaultlast_img read more

Brathwaite to leave Big Bash for Super50

first_imgWest Indies Twenty20 captain Carlos Brathwaite will leave Big Bash League’s (BBL) Sydney Thunder later this week in order to honour his commitment with Barbados for the regional Super50 competition.Brathwaite replaced injured West Indian teammate Andre Russell last week and has been a hit with fans and players at the franchise so far. The all-rounder has also made a solid contribution with the ball claiming figures of 3 for 21 in Thunder’s derby clash against the Sixers on Saturday and opening with 2 for 31 against Hobart. On each occasion entertaining the crowd with his triple dab celebration.Following a third consecutive win in a row the Thunder could sneak into the BBL final with a win over Adelaide Strikers in Wednesday’s semi-final. Should the Thunder win the match Brathwaite would, however, miss the January 28 final as the regional Super50 tournament gets under way on January 24.“Unfortunately, I still have to go home on (Thursday) morning to play in the Super50 tournament,’’ Brathwaite said on Saturday.The Barbados Pride will begin their campaign against the Guyana Jaguars at Kensington Oval on the competition’s opening day. ( read more

Tyus Battle to reportedly leave Syracuse for the NBA Draft

first_img Comments Last year, Battle entered his name into the NBA Draft process, went through the pre-draft combine but then pulled his name without signing an agent to return to SU. He averaged about 17 points per game as a junior for the Orange, and has slotted in the 50s of some publication’s NBA mock drafts.If Battle has played his final game for Syracuse, he’d finish with 1,647 career points, 16th in Syracuse history. And if he’s gone, the final shot of Battle’s SU career would be a right baseline, stepback jumper from about 15 feet that he hit off the front rim. View this post on InstagramAdvertisementThis is placeholder textA post shared by Tyus Battle (@tyusbattle) on Mar 22, 2019 at 10:02am PDT SALT LAKE CITY — Tyus Battle will leave Syracuse for the NBA Draft, per multiple reports on Friday morning.Battle said last night after Syracuse’s season ending at the hands of Baylor that he wasn’t “worrying about” his future at that moment. But with his junior season concluded, it appears Battle will test himself professionally. The reports gave no indication of whether Battle would be signing immediately with an agent or not.Battle posted the following on Instagram on Friday” data-instgrm-version=”12″>center_img Published on March 22, 2019 at 1:27 pm Contact Billy: [email protected] | @Wheyen3 Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

NBA All-Star 2019: 5 most intriguing lineup combinations

first_imgThree of James’ first four picks are impending free agents while Antetokounmpo nabbed multiple first-time All-Stars.The complete rosters are below: Related News Team LeBron— Kevin Durant — Kyrie Irving — Kawhi Leonard — James Harden— Anthony Davis— Klay Thompson— Damian Lillard— Ben Simmons— LaMarcus Aldridge— Karl-Anthony Towns— Bradley Beal— Dwyane WadeTeam Giannis— Stephen Curry— Joel Embiid— Paul George— Kemba Walker— Khris Middleton— Nikola Jokic— Russell Westbrook— Blake Griffin— D’Angelo Russell— Nikola Vucevic— Kyle Lowry— Dirk NowitzkiHere are the five lineup combinations we’re most excited to see in the game, which will take place Sunday, Feb. 17 in Charlotte, North Carolina. James-Thompson-Davis-Wade-SimmonsWhile unlikely, the trio of James, Thompson and Davis could end up playing together on the Lakers. The team had been attempting to trade for Davis before the deadline and that pursuit is expected to continue in the offseason. If Los Angeles does end up adding Davis, Thompson may reportedly consider signing with the franchise. Meanwhile, Wade — making his last ever All-Star appearance — and James are close friends while the Lakers star appreciates Simmons’ game. It would be interesting to see how this unit interacted on the court.  James-Durant-Irving-Leonard-ThompsonIn this scenario, James would be surrounded by four potential free agents. Could this lineup help him recruit one of these stars to join him in Los Angeles? You never know.Antetokounmpo-Curry-Lowry-Walker-WestbrookThis lineup would be fun. Antetokounmpo would play center on this unit and be surrounded by four ball handlers. The group would have the ability to push the pace and create offense at will. They’d be hard to stop.Walker-Russell-Middleton-Vucevic-JokicEveryone in this group is a first-time All-Star besides Walker. Meanwhile, the Hornets star will be playing on his home court. All five are bound to have something to prove and will be playing hard. NBA All-Star 2019: LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo discuss first televised draft The 2019 All-Star teams are officially set.LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo, the game’s two captains, completed the first ever televised draft Thursday. James selected Kevin Durant with his top choice and Antetokounmpo followed by picking Stephen Curry.center_img Westbrook-Antetokounmpo-Embiid-Griffin-GeorgeThis lineup is intriguing on two different levels. Every player is long and super athletic. Together, they’d make it difficult to penetrate the lane and would have the ability to score at all three levels. But, Westbrook and Embiid have clashed on the court and exchanged words through the media this season. It would be curious to see how they react to playing on the same team. Anthony Davis to return to Pelicans’ lineup, will play out rest of seasonlast_img read more

Basketball Match BiH – Australia broke the Record of Views of FIBA

first_imgExtremely exciting match between U17 national basketball team of BiH and Australia at the World Cup in Spain broke the record of views on live stream of FIBA.The match was followed by almost 200,000 people through live stream on Facebook and YouTube, which is the highest number ever, of course, when it comes to matches of young players.A total of 111,230 users followed the match on Facebook, together with 85,231 viewers on YouTube.The biggest number of viewers at the same moment was 24,000, which is only 1,000 less than FIBA’s record that was set during stream of the draw for the World Cup for seniors in 2014. Unfortunately, BiH national team was defeated by their peers from Australia.This year’s World Cup for cadets attracted more than 2 million viewers. On average, matches of men’s team were watched by 33,000 people, and 10,000 people followed the women’s matches.FIBA promised to broadcast a total of 480 matches of young players in the duration of 840 hours all across the globe this year through their Facebook and YouTube.(Source: read more