Canton native transferring to South Africa; encourages locals to journey – Information – The Repository

McKinley Excessive College graduate Christopher Stokes is transferring to South Africa.

CANTON Christopher Stokes is about to be a great distance from dwelling.

Stokes, an government with a global pharmaceutical agency, is headed to South Africa to tackle a brand new job, the newest of his travels around the globe.

“I’ve always had an interest in Africa,” he mentioned. “My wife and I have been open to traveling the world and learning about new cultures since college.”

The son of Michelle and the late Jonathan Stokes, he’s a 1997 graduate of McKinley Excessive College who earned his bachelor’s diploma at George Mason College and a grasp’s diploma in finance from the College of Indiana.

Stokes, who at the moment lives in Indianapolis, serves on the Indiana Early Studying Advisory Committee below Gov. Eric J. Holcomb.

He, his spouse, Lauren, and two daughters, three and 9, will relocate to Johannesburg “sight unseen” as quickly as they’re permitted to journey.

“The thing about South Africa is it has such a rich history,” he mentioned. “I thought, `Why not?’ It was a wonderful opportunity. It’s not what you see on TV. It’s an economic hub. It’s quite progressive.”

‘It was my method out’

Stokes has visited not less than a dozen international locations, because of athletics and his tutorial abilities. He was a member of McKinley’s state championship observe staff and an NCAA All-American within the hurdles at Virginia Tech and, later, George Mason.

Stokes credit former McKinley observe coach Rick Hairston for uplifting him to excel.

“Rick exposed me to competition at a high level,” he mentioned. “I fell in love with track. It was my way out.”

Stokes’ first journey abroad was to Spain for knowledgeable observe meet in 2004.

“It was all because of track,” he mentioned. “It allowed me to see how others lived in the world. It’s about having diverse experiences and making friends from different countries and cultures.”

Stokes believes there are advantages to touring overseas and bringing again what you study even in case you by no means plan to dwell outdoors of your hometown.

Canton roots

Relating to Canton, Stokes can see modifications, noting that it’s clear the world has been impacted by the departures of companies such because the Hoover Co.

“Canton still seems to be a nice, family-oriented city; however, there’s struggle,” he mentioned. “There are parts of town that definitely were thriving when I grew up.”

Stokes needs to create a platform to maintain in touch with different Cantonians to debate methods to enhance life right here.

Ward four Councilwoman Chris Smith, Stokes’ godmother and namesake, mentioned Stokes instructed her he needs to create a observe program for underserved youth and to assist restore Jackson Pool.

“He has so many memories of Jackson Pool,” Smith mentioned. “And that was one of the things he asked me about.”

On the town

Final week, Stokes visited his mom, Michelle, who couldn’t be prouder of what her center son has completed. He’s one among three brothers.

“Christopher has worked tirelessly to achieve this opportunity,” she mentioned. “As his mother, I have witnessed his highs and lows in his professional journey. I’m so proud of him not just because he is my son, but because he is such a fine example for other Black boys to aspire to. Being a product of this community and representing Canton, Ohio, makes me proud as punch.”

Christopher Stokes mentioned function fashions are also essential. He remembers being in awe of Canton native Eric Snow when Snow was dwelling from Michigan State. Snow went on to change into an NBA star.

“I’m really thankful for what Canton has given me,” Stokes mentioned. “It gave me the mentality that you have to work hard. I’m wearing a `McKinley vs. Everybody’ T-shirt right now.”

To contact Stokes, e-mail him at:

Attain Charita at

On Twitter: @cgoshayREP

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