Paul Granberry III is the first Western student to have the honor of attending the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington D.C.
The National Prayer Breakfast, an annual event started in 1953 by Abraham Vereide, is a series of meetings, luncheons and dinners attended by around 3,000 people from nearly 140 countries. State senators and representatives, doctors, lawyers and community leaders, as well as around 100 college student invitees, attended this year’s Breakfast. The students, scholars and community leaders discussed national and international issues all while making key professional contacts and connections.
Granberry III, a sophomore accounting major, is a natural leader in the Western community. As Vice President of the Black Student Union, a second-year Senator in the Student Government Association, a residential assistant in Scanlon Hall and a member of Gentlemen of Color, Granberry works to inspire others to get involved in their community.
“Missouri Western is the heart of St. Joe,” Granberry III said. “Students don’t want to get involved unless there is an incentive. I hope that I can lead by example and show them that in order to get the most out of their experiences, they should get involved in their community because they have a purpose, not an incentive.”
On top of getting to meet students and scholars from all over the world, Granberry III had the opportunity to hear Pres. Donald Trump speak. While Granberry III noted that Pres. Trump spoke mostly about his political views and not much about leadership, Granberry III said Pres. Trump had a special presence when he walked into the hall.
“He had a certain presence about him,” Granberry III said. “Not everyone can have the kind of presence where as soon as you walk into a room everybody has to stand and everybody listens to your every word. You have to be some sort of legend.”
The overarching message of the event, as described by the Western student, was to establish connections and close relationships with individuals you come in contact with. He noted that the best way to establish connections is by being a leader and putting yourself out there. Granberry III explained that his leadership style is assertive but calm, laid back and genuine.
“People comment about how involved I am and they ask me about how I keep my grades up,” Granberry III said, “And I make sure to mention to them not to compare my highlights to their shortcomings. I have my struggles as well. I’ve just learned to control the struggle, admire the struggle, and I hope to inspire others to do the same.”
One of the key messages of speaker William P. Young, author of bestselling novel, “The Shack,” was to continue to better yourself through education.
“As much as you better yourself through learning, the people around you will gravitate towards you. People tend to chase money, fame, success and titles when they should be chasing integrity, inclusion and accountability,” Granberry III said.
He noted that he was so blessed and fortunate to have been able to attend the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington D.C. and hopes to inspire the Western community to get involved, to make key connections and relationships and to continue to help others because “as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another,” (Proverbs 27:17).