In celebrating Black History Month, Brother Rice Alumni Association Board Member Joe Kenny ’87 suggested we feature the interesting journeys of African American Alumni from high school to where they are today. We hope upon reading this, you immediately contact the Alumni Office at email@example.com and share more stories about other African American Brother Rice Alumni, during Black History Month.
To many, Delano Brazil ’87 was widely known as the first varsity basketball player from Brother Rice to lead the Chicago Catholic League in scoring. In the February 18, 1987 Standard student newspaper classmate Mike Sieja described Del as “the epitome of what it takes to be successful in any endeavor in life. It is Delano’s mental approach that separates him from the average player…”
Coaches at Brother Rice and around the Chicago Catholic League admired Del’s intensity on offense and defense, inside or outside. Recently retired University of Wisconsin Head Coach Bo Ryan also admired Del during the four years he played for Ryan at Wisconsin-Platteville, referring to the Brother Rice graduate as part of the team that set the stage for four NCAA Division III National Championships, commending them (with Del the first name mentioned) for how “hard they worked to get better every year.”
But Del did not choose Brother Rice because of basketball. He passed four other high schools to go to Rice because of “its excellent academic program and great reputation.”
“Rice is an institution that builds character in young men,” Del said. “That was especially true for me being from the inner city. I thank my mom to this day as a single mom making the sacrifice for me to attend BRHS. For four years, I took two CTA buses to school to arrive at Rice in the morning, and it was well worth the trip.”
“The academic program, coupled with playing basketball for four years at Rice prepared me for success in college and for the game of life,” Del said.
Del was prepared enough to play four years for the NCAA Hall of Fame coach Ryan, and for majoring in civil engineering and earning a BSCE, which led to an engineering career at first with IDOT and then with various private engineering firms, but he still thought “something was missing.”
“I applied to Business schools at a few universities, and decided on the University of Notre Dame,” Del said. “While studying for my MBA, I had a burning desire to become an entrepreneur and start my own business.”
“I started APEX Consulting Engineers in 2004 and graduated from ND with an MBA in 2005,” Del said. “APEX has grown to a 30-person firm and is still growing.”
“Leadership and organizational skills, along with discipline developed at Rice has been the foundation for my life-long learning and ongoing success, including my marriage to Tammy Brazil for 18 years and my son Dane, who is 12 years old,” Del said. “I have been truly educated to Act Manfully in Christ Jesus.”
Which explains why Del is “elated to be a member of the Brother Rice Board of Directors and excited about the opportunity to help young men of BRHS.” He added, “My motivation to become a board member is to give back to the school that was instrumental in my life.”
Del Brazil will also be inducted into the Brother Rice Circle of Champions for his athletic excellence on Saturday, April 16, 2016.
For the balanced excellence he achieved at Brother Rice and beyond, and for his willingness to give back to his alma mater, we are proud to include Del Brazil as one of our featured African American alumni during Black History Month in 2016.
Jim Casey ’70 began his discovery of interesting journeys by reaching out to Courtney Turner ’87 and Clifford Hunt II ’08.
Commander Courtney A. Turner, USN (Retired), BRHS Class of 1987
Commander Turner aptly described his journey as an “adventure,” one that he has been leading since he graduated from Brother Rice. In response to Casey’s questions and request for photos, Commander Turner provided the following, incredibly, within two days. Here are Courtney’s own words:
Lead the Adventure!
After graduating from Brother Rice in 1987, I entered the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois, Champaign with a 4-year Navy ROTC scholarship. At that point in my life I had no idea I was about to embark on a journey that would take me and my family around the world to protect our country, help shape world events and make the world a better place.
Times were tough for my family when I started at Brother Rice in 1983. However, I realized early on that a quality education brought opportunities that otherwise might have been out of reach. My father, a Chicago Police officer, and my mother, a medical records specialist, made many sacrifices so that my sister and I could get the best education. For me, choosing Brother Rice afforded an excellent opportunity to get a jump-start in life. The challenging academic program combined with an exceptional faculty, a Christian learning environment, and a rich cultural diversity within the student body, made the 4-year experience invaluable and provided a great foundation to build upon.
After graduating from the University of Illinois in 1991, I received a commission as an Ensign, and I began my career at the world’s largest naval base, Norfolk Naval Base, Virginia. Along the way, I had great mentors and learned a lot from many inspirational leaders. Ten years later, I was fortunate to return home when the navy selected me to attend DePaul University in Chicago, where I earned an MBA in International Marketing and Finance. Adding to my success at many educational institutions, I also had many successful assignments overseas aboard submarines, aircraft carriers, destroyers, and on a few occasions, I was engaged in supporting the elite navy seals. On a similar, while stationed in Washington D.C., I had plum assignments which included the following: presidential military aide at the White House; professor at the Defense Acquisition University; senior acquisition officer on the Secretary of the Navy’s staff at the Pentagon.
During my 20-year naval career, I traveled to over 80 countries and conducted countless military and humanitarian operations, such as support to the President’s Emergency Plan of HIV / AIDS Relief (PEPEFAR) in Sub-Saharan Africa; the 2004 Athens, Greece Olympics security operation; the U.S. Embassy Monrovia, Liberia evacuation during the civil war in 2003; various operations in the Middle East, Far East, Eastern Europe and Russia. During one of the many assignments across the African continent, I worked closely with Tanzanian government officials and a local Maasai tribe to channel clean drinking to their community.
Today, my wife Kim and I reside in Woodbridge, Virginia with our children Camryn, Collin and Kayden. I work in the Pentagon on the Joint Staff, and I travel the world as president and owner of CA Turner Consulting LLC. My firm provides consulting, training and planning services to the Department of Defense, the Joint Staff and various other government agencies.
I can definitely attribute my success in life the solid foundation in academics, cultural awareness and spirituality I received at Brother Rice. My advice is to never stop learning and always seek to improve yourself.
I am proud to be part of the Brother Rice family………Full Speed Ahead!
More and Better Things to Come for Cliff Hunt ’08
Cliff Hunt II ’08 cites people at Brother Rice, Morehouse College, family, prayer, and his personal drive to achieve balance in taking on challenges as inspiring his path toward more and better things in life. These are his words:
My path from Brother Rice to where I am today has been unconventional and creative, and it has included heavy leaps of faith.
After Brother Rice, I decided to attend Morehouse College. When I visited Morehouse, it was similar to BRHS in promoting ideas of brotherhood through my journey into manhood, within a family atmosphere on a liberal arts campus.
Those ideals reached full fruition when I unexpectedly loss my mother in 2010. I knew I made the right high school and college choices, when I found full support from my old teachers (Mrs. Rzeszutko) and counselor (Mrs. Barkowski) at Brother Rice, and from the people at Morehouse. Ironically, the loss created a gain for me – it was through the healing with faith, love, and support that I found my passion in food, which I believe was there from the beginning but it took personal tragedy to realize it.
After a year of giving back to the community and exploring my interest in education as a teaching fellow at Urban Prep Academy, I decided to take a leap of faith and make a move to New York City, for I knew I wanted to attend the International Culinary Center. Within months I was starting my program at ICC while simultaneously working for the Council on Foreign Relations. I am still employed there and have been promoted twice. I now work for the publishing side of Foreign Affairs, which is one of the world’s leading publications in foreign policy and international relations – which is what I studied for a bachelor’s. While working full-time, I have created my own culinary business entitled Culinary Cliff, LLC. I provide needs for catering, private events, education, and even host my own series of pop-ups in the city of New York. Brother Rice has a way of instilling full accountability, integrity, and responsibility for its students, which in turn, translated to my career path. I’ve learned to have a strong voice but also stay in a determined track for greatness. Brother Rice was the place where I proved I was capable of multitasking, when I was in both the marching and symphonic bands, in the modern language honor society, while also taking extracurricular courses and still managing to have my own personal life. Even to this day, achieving balance, while working smart and being driven, continues to be a part of my daily philosophy in getting things done.
Also, Brother Rice taught the idea of finding time for yourself through prayer, faith, and meditation. To this day I make sure I find time to align myself with my faith, as I know that I can’t continue life’s journey without it.
My personal development is and will always be evolving. Again, I’m slowly but surely understanding the importance of balance, reflection, focus, and overall mental stability to get through this crazy world. I am quite proud of the maturity that has happened within me. I think the culmination of Brother Rice, Morehouse, family, hometown support, and faith are the factors that keep me grounded, yet on track for more and better things to come!Read More