Michael Thomas-Francis is more than just your average student-athlete. He is the captain of the relatively new John Jay cheerleading team, and he says the experience has enhanced his patience, made him stronger, and taught him to deal capably and successfully with challenges.
Thomas-Francis, a Brooklyn native with family roots in Trinidad, will be graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration. He will become the first in his family to graduate from college, just as he was the first to complete high school.
He said he chose John Jay because of its mission of educating for justice. “I chose public administration because I want to own my own charter school,” he said. “It’s a lot about policy, budgeting and managing, and I love it.” Charter schools appeal to Thomas-Francis because they are geared to students’ particular interests, they are small and teachers can help develop a student’s craft.
A lifelong dancer and performer, he envisions a charter school devoted to the performing arts. A member of the Campus Activity Board, Thomas-Francis planned the College’s first “Gaypril,” a month-long celebration of diversity. But it is clearly the experience of leading a college cheerleading squad that has gone a long way toward shaping him.
“As captain, I have matured and become more professional because I know I am the leader,” he said. “It has taught me to learn to listen, and be more empathetic. I love my team; they are amazing. I won’t miss them because I will see them all the time — they are like my family now. They are longtime friends.”