Agape Latte: Who Am I?

By Tristan Davis

The Franciscan Spirit Club hosted the year’s first Agape Latte early last month. Jeff Papia opened with a talk about what Agape meant and how it is about selfless love and was brought up in thought about hearing from those who teach the students.

After a brief intro, the floor was then given to Dr. Paoni. Dr. Paoni is a professor here who teaches criminal justice classes here at Hilbert. Dr. Paoni talked about his family life and how his parents instilled a strong work ethic but also educational ethic in their children. He later spoke about his heavy involvement in the Catholic Church, including altar boy classes. At one point, Paoni started to become less involved in the Catholic Church. After talking to his father and hearing a story about faith, he read Power for Living, by Jamie Buckingham, and this put him back in love with his faith.

After high school, Dr. Paoni went to community college where he majored in criminal justice and, despite being involved in sports, still earned good grades. After community college, he transferred to SUNY Potsdam where he was told to reevaluate his educational plan.

While waiting for school to start back up for spring semester, he began to re-examine his faith and become anchored in his faith again. He talked about trying to find the accuracy in the Bible. He talked about finding himself by finding out who the Lord said he was. Before the spring semester, he enrolled in Syracuse University and majored in criminal justice.

Paoni then talked about breezing through his first eleven years of his career. During his first 11 years on the job, he worked as a police officer. He used this time to talk to people who were in the back of the police car about the Gospel. Later between 1990 and 2001, he led defensive tactics, this role allowed him to teach defenses to recruits and teach them how to subdue the suspect. It was in this role where he suffered an injury that would require him to leave the force, but not before attending RIT and getting a doctorate in Education.

After receiving his doctorate, he was hired at Hilbert College 2013 and here he is still teaching. Dr. Paoni is an amazing teacher and works very hard at the college. Learning about him through Agape Latte was an amazing experience.

I would highly recommend that people attend the next Agape Latte to learn more about those who work hard and teach at Hilbert. Stop by the Lower Level Campus Center November 8 at 7 p.m. to hear Dr. Amy Smith speak.

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