From a very young age, Shreveport native Cordara Newson knew he was a bit different from the other kids. While the other kids were playing games outside, he was writing, singing and finding other creative ways to express himself. Most of his inspiration came from his mom, Pamela Marshall. She was his biggest motivator.
“She is the epitome of a kind-hearted, hard-working woman. I admire her and her undying desire to provide for others.”
He also admired and found inspiration through Norm Lewis, who was active in the theater scene.
Newson came to SAU after auditioning for and receiving a choir scholarship. He felt at home the first time he came to SAU’s campus to audition and tour. He said everyone he met that day spoke to him and made him feel welcome. He didn’t have time for homesickness once he moved on campus, because he was busy meeting people and forming deep friendship bonds that he will carry throughout his life.
Newson made an impression on those at SAU as well, and was awarded the Freshman of the Year Award his first year on campus. He has been involved in Genesis Ministry Choir, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Alpha Psi Omega, the Resident Hall Association, Harrod Hall Council, Judicial Board, Student Government Association, Black Student Association, Pan Hellenic Council, Inner Greek Council, Student Activities Board and was a President’s Ambassador.
At first, Newson decided that he should major in a degree that would lead to making money instead of following his passions – theater and singing. He wasn’t sure that his passions would translate to a financially stable future after college, so chose mass communications with a minor in theater.
Professor John Cary played an important role in his undergraduate years. Newson fondly remembers Cary as an amazing instructor and someone who is full of drive. Cary’s classes and others taught him valuable skills that he is certain will come to good use in the years following college.
He loved his communications classes, but knew he wasn’t pursuing his heart’s desire. As he continued towards his degree, he couldn’t devote the necessary time to theater and changed to a digital media minor. His experiences have shaped his views on education decisions and he has ready advice for incoming students – “Do not allow anything or anyone to stand in the way of your passion.”
“I have learned that when you are doing what you love, things will line up just the way they should,” Newson said. “My favorite scripture, ‘And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose’ from Romans 8:28 shows me that God gives us a life to make a difference and to fulfill our destiny.”
Newson is excited to be back at SAU pursuing his master’s Degree. Now enrolled in graduate school, he calls Dr. Kim Bloss his “angel of wisdom.” He loves being a student affairs and college counseling major. Newson also appreciates what theater Professor Clayton Guiltner has done for reigniting the passion of theater within him.
Newson is going back to his first love, musical theater and is performing in SAU Theater’s production of “Lucky Stiff” which will be on stage at Harton Theatre from Feb. 26 to Feb. 28.
“I am so excited about this opportunity. It is the second production I have been a part of since I started the graduate program. Usually graduate assistants don’t have time to participate in productions, but since my passion is so strong for theater, I make time,” he said.
This past December he competed in an audition for the Southeastern Theater Conference (SETC). His score was so high, that he has an opportunity to audition nationally with theater companies and universities from all over the world to find talent.
“I will travel to Louisville, Ky. for this huge opportunity. I will audition for summer and professional acting jobs,” said Newson.
In addition to theater and his position as graduate assistant for Student Success, Newson continues to be involved in the Camden/Magnolia Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi. He is also a member of the Magnolia Arts Improv Team.
He tells everyone who will listen to not give up their dreams, to continue to pursue them with all their passion and not do something just because it is convenient, practical or is comfortable.
“When I enrolled in the graduate program, I was contemplating a lot of career paths, but now I know what I need to do so that I have a career that I love… not just a job to pay bills. Stay tuned,” he said.