Eric Williams’ future students are going to have a great teacher. He’s bubbly, positive, and described by others as a hard worker with infectious energy and an unmatched dedication to his studies.

With plans to become a special education teacher, Eric is currently pursuing his associate degree in education at Malcolm X College. His peers, instructors, and other staff members at Malcolm X are impressed with his drive. So impressed, they nominated him for a City Colleges Luminary Award—and he received it.

As a student with a documented disability, Eric not only desires to help his future students, but he can also relate to them. He says that, in the past, people have told him he can’t reach his goals, and some have even discouraged him from following his current path. But Eric isn’t worried about the opinion of others. He has the support of Malcolm X College and of his father, who continues to encourage Eric and push him toward his dream.

Eric is quick to pass that encouragement on to others. Outside of the classroom, he’s passionate about supporting organizations like Special Olympics, and he even jumped in the icy cold Lake Michigan waters this spring to help fundraise for the non-profit. He is also a part of Malcolm X’s Student Government Association.

Eric’s documented disability has made his schooling a bit more difficult, but not impossible, he says, and the Tutoring and ACCESS Centers at Malcolm X have been great support systems for him. When asked how Eric feels about being a Luminary Award recipient, he says he’s “proud, excited, and happy.”

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