February 15, 2013
One could say that Paul Quinn College is in the blood of the Buffington family. After meeting at Paul Quinn, Kellen and Venita Buffington almost literally started their family on the campus. "I had one with me at graduation and another in the womb," says Venita with a chuckle as she works on a school project with her son, Raellen, in the Zale Library. As she tells the story, her husband, Kellen, manages their other son, Aaron. Raellen is eight years old and Aaron is an energetic seven years old, and the family spent their Valentine's Day evening creating a replica of the College's Heritage Bell.
It started with a request from Venita for information on the Heritage Bell via Facebook. She posted on the Paul Quinn Facebook friend page that Raellen's class assignment was to create a replica of a monument and he chose the Heritage Bell. Mom gathered Kellen and Aaron and hurried to Zale to get the assistance of one Mrs. Clarice Weeks, the College's librarian who is always eager to help students and alumni. With a glue gun, paint, card board and other supplies in place, the project began.
What adds charm to the Buffingtons' story are their parallel paths. Both are Californians, Venita from the Bay Area and Kellen from Compton. Venita selected Paul Quinn because of a high school mentor who thought she and others would benefit from the HBCU experience. Kellen earned an athletic scholarship and played baseball. Both graduated from PQC in 2005 and both are teachers. Venita is a fifth grade science teacher at A.W. Brown-Fellowship Leadership Academy and Kellen is a seventh grade social studies teacher at Permenter Middle School in Cedar Hill.
Kellen, however, has bigger things in mind. Armed with a master's in education, he is currently pursuing his Ph.D. to climb the educational leadership ranks. It seems that his talent is being recognized as evidenced by his receiving the Customer Service Award from Cedar Hill ISD in January 2013. Apparently not one to rest, Kellen also recently started a non-profit organization called The Blueprint 5. He started the organization to enrich the lives of young people through academics, athletics, community service, mentorship, and exposure to life outside of their respective neighborhoods.
As with most alumni, both have fond memories of their days at Paul Quinn. Kellen talked about his relationship with Donald Cofer, former baseball coach, while Venita recalled the good times she had with her Zeta Phi Beta sisters, her fellow Greeks and other Quinnites. As Venita took over the Heritage Bell project and attempted to wrap up as much as she could, Mrs. Weeks quipped, "The whole family is a part of this school, so just take your time."
PICTURED: (Top) Venita and Kellen Buffington ('05) help their son, Raellen (right), start his Heritage Bell project with Aaron looking on. (Bottom) Raellen and Venita show off their work in progress.
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