One of the most special things Xavier Cunningham has ever witnessed was watching the Baltimore Ravens win Super Bowl XLVII in 2013.
“It was electrifying and exciting for the city of Baltimore and all Ravens fans around the world,” he said.
The Howard Community College (HCC) alum says he’s always had a special place in his heart for Ravens football. Last spring, he had a chance to meet Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh, as well as the team chaplain, Johnny Shelton. Xavier, who is majoring in communications studies with a minor in business administration at Towson University, jumped at the chance to engage with the organization.
“I talked to both of them about my interest in interning,” he said. Later, despite heavy competition, Xavier not only landed a summer internship with the Raven’s Training Camp, but was also brought on as an intern with the organization’s marketing and event staff for the 2019-2020 NFL season.
Xavier, who graduated from HCC with an Associate of Arts degree in general studies with a business and technology emphasis, says he’s proud to have gotten his start at HCC and is thankful for everyone who has helped him along the way.
Xavier grew up in Howard County, so Howard Community College was top of mind when he was considering his college choices. While he was accepted to other schools, he was attracted to HCC because of the diversity and welcoming environment he found on campus. After enrolling, he joined Howard P.R.I.D.E., HCC’s mentorship program for black male students, which confirmed his initial impressions. P.R.I.D.E. stands for purpose, respect, initiative, determination, and excellence.
“Howard P.R.I.D.E. was and has always been a blessing for me. I never thought it could be as good to me as it has been,” he said. Xavier says the guidance from his P.R.I.D.E. mentors helped keep him on track. More than that, he says, “They’ve helped me with everything, academically as well as socially, and have just been there for me and given me advice. I have become a better student and man.”
Xavier also credits his professors for helping him discover the right fit academically.
“They took me under their wings and have been more than just teachers to me,” Xavier says. “I think that when you can develop relationships with the people who are not only teaching you, but helping you become a better person, it will just help you build even more connections going forward.”
Reflecting on his time at HCC, Xavier says that going to the National Museum of African-American History and Culture with Howard P.R.I.D.E. was an important moment of inspiration for his future.
“We got to find out about our heritage and what the people before us went through in order for us to have a better life. It put a greater perspective on what the P.R.I.D.E. program is all about and why we are the leaders of society and need to be better people every day.”
He plans to graduate from Towson University in December 2019 and pursue a career in sports broadcasting, public relations, community relations, communication, and/or marketing.
“This has been a journey and I’m very thankful for everyone who has helped me along the way,” he said. “I’m proud to be a Dragon!”
Wherever you want to go, you can get there from here.