As International Week at Marianapolis draws to a close, we reflect on a week-long celebration of our global community; the cultures, traditions, and customs we each embrace and bring to the School; and ways in which Marianapolis alums from around the globe were shaped by their experiences and inspired to make their mark on the world after graduation.
In addition to presentations, reflections, and discussions highlighting the backgrounds and cultures represented within our community of Golden Knights, this year’s festivities also included themed dress-down days and a week-long virtual scavenger hunt.
Making a virtual return to campus, this week’s featured speaker, Cooper Bayiha ‘07, shared his experience as a boarding student at Marianapolis from Cameroon, fondly recalled faculty members who served as mentors and guides during his time on campus, and detailed the inspiration behind The Baobab Project, an organization he created with a mission to serve youth through the development of leadership and interpersonal skills, using basketball as a platform.
The baobab tree serves as a symbol of strength and longevity, and the organization takes “great pride in nurturing the roots -- the parts of each individual that we cannot see.” Student-athletes are paired with coaches/mentors and participate in training sessions, camps, clinics, and workshops that “help young people to improve in every aspect of their lives.”
Cooper is no stranger to the power of the coach-athlete relationship, as he was a standout forward on Marianapolis’ basketball team and continued on to play at the collegiate level. The community thoroughly enjoyed learning about how Cooper’s experiences at Marianapolis shaped his personal and professional journey -- and the ways in which he and his organization continue to make a positive difference in the world.