Cedar Crest College newspaper since 1923
“As a child I was told that you were given a voice and it was your choice whether you used your voice for good or bad, but use your voice you must.”
Above is an excerpt from the speech that landed AnTionette Byers- Paredes, senior social work major, a spot on the NIEF All American Team. This honor is presented to senior college students that have excelled, not only in Forensic speech but in the realm of academic excellence and community service as well. Byers is the third Cedar Crest student in the last four years to receive this award and the first African American student.
Joining the All American Team is just one of the many exciting things that Byers has accomplished this semester, she was recently accepted to New York University for graduate school.
“When I found out I had been accepted into NYU I was truly ecstatic. I was in Puerto Rico at the time when I received the email and I remember running around my hotel room screaming and crying with joy. I called my mother and I remember just crying and telling her “I did it, I did it, I got accepted into NYU,” said Byers.
“You have to understand, NYU has been my dream school for as long I can remember and when I applied in high school I was not accepted.” Byers credits not only her parents and relatives for helping her become the woman she is today but also her experiences here at Cedar Crest College.
“The people that I have met at Cedar Crest College have made a lasting impression on me and have helped shape me into the women that I am today. Four years ago I would have never had the confidence or belief in myself to even think about applying to NYU, let on alone believe that I would be accepted into the program. I gained my voice at Cedar Crest and I know some people will probably laugh at this statement because if you know me than you know that I am very gregarious,” said Byers.
“But when I say that I gained my voice I mean that I gained a sense of knowing who I was and truly believing in myself and my abilities. The All American Award allowed me to realize how far I have come, this is award based on Academic Achievement, Forensic Achievement and your involvement in the community. They asked you to look at the last four years and reviewing my last four years as I completed my application I realized how truly far I had come.”
When asked about how her education and experiences at CCC will help her in her future endeavors, Byers ended her interview with this quotation.
“To quote Virginia Wolfe, ‘For most of history anonymous was a woman.’ Simply put in my four years at Cedar Crest I came into myself, I was reborn and I blossomed into the woman that I am today,” said Byers. “I learned to be proud of myself not only as a woman but as a woman of color, I learned the importance of saying no and I learned that I do not have to be anonymous unless I choose to do so.”