Shaquille Coppin was on the cusp of graduating when Paterson Catholic High School closed a few years ago. Unsure of where to turn, Shaquille felt fortunate that Tri-County provided a scholarship, enabling him to transfer to Paramus Catholic High School to complete his senior year. This represented a significant transition for him. “It enriched my academic experience and made me more independent,” says Shaquille. He feels this environment helped equip him with the self-reliance needed to succeed at college. Four years later, Shaquille is currently a college senior successfully pursuing a 5-year Business Management Degree with a minor in Business Law at Saint Peter’s University in Jersey City.
Shaquille’s commitment to learning began early. He was greatly influenced by his mother and grandmother, both of whom “always set high goals for me,” says Shaquille. And he hasn’t disappointed them. Shaquille is studying hard for the LSAT in order to obtain a law degree. His participation in the Business Law Association and the Young Entrepreneurs Club provides him with enriched opportunities to explore and develop his capabilities in both these areas of interest. “It’s a lot to juggle,” says Shaquille. But he is determined to do well in college, realizing it is an important step in helping him prepare for his ultimate goal of pursuing a career in Business Law, a field combining his two favorite areas of study.
Professor Raymond Butkus, who Shaquille met last year when he enrolled in Butkus’s class on principles of customer service, provides inspiration for Shaquille and is an ongoing source of practical business skills and advice. Butkus describes himself as a practitioner, rather than an academic, having worked many years in the corporate sector prior to teaching, first as an executive and then serving as CEO for two companies, successively. Says Butkus, “Shaquille quickly stood out as a real model student who was the most engaged of all the students. He naturally assumed an informal leadership role in the class.”
The two men remain very close through Saint Peter’s “accompaniment” program that mentors a student through the critically important job-seeking process. Butkus says, “Having seen tens of thousands of resumes and interviewed thousands of candidates… there are certain qualities I always look for… work ethic, intellectual curiosity… and how the candidates comport themselves. These are strong indicators of success in the business world. I would rate Shaq very highly…he is remarkable. I have great expectations for him.”