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Student Spotlight on David Payne Spring 2007

Get to know Sixth College commuter student and world traveler David Payne.


  • Music: Blues
  • Movie: The Usual Suspects
  • Food: Sushi
  • Book: The Bible

Where were you born? When people ask me that I usually ask if they have 5 minutes! My family is originally from Africa. My parents lived in the former British colony of Rhodesia until the war. When Rhodesia lost the war, my parents became refugees. They first went to Hong Kong and then to Singapore, where I was born. Since my dad is a British citizen, we eventually moved to England. Then, my dad got a new job and we moved to New York City. We were in NYC for 6 years. Next, we moved to Boston where we lived for 8 years. Then, by myself, I moved to Australia. My mother is Australian, so I have Australian citizenship. I worked as a farmhand in Dubbo, Australia (5 hours west of Sydney) where they actually herd the cows with helicopters! A year later, I moved to Montreal. From Montreal I came to San Diego.

Interests: I have been practicing Martial Arts since the age of 5. My dad was a Kyokushinkia (Karate) champ in Africa, and I became interested in it because of him. I practice Judo, Jeet Kune Do, Gung-Fu and I have a black sash in Kali.

This summer, I'm teaching at the Martial Arts Hall of Fame, which is like the World Series for baseball players. It's a great honor for me, and I'll also actually be the youngest person to ever teach at this event.

I also love music. I play the blues guitar. I'm a big fan of Jimmy Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan, so they have influenced my music a lot. I was taught an appreciation for music at a young age. My mother was a professional pianist, and she started me on piano. When I was 12, I switched to guitar.

I'm also interested in community service, politics, science and technology, investment and securities.

What's your current or intended major? Economics, with a minor in Political Science.

What do you want to do as an intended career after graduation? Community Service/ Hedge Funds.

Who are your role models/ heroes? Jesus, parents, and those who are born without much, yet achieve great things. There are too many to name.

What's your favorite memory of Sixth College or moment at Sixth College? The Practicum course where I was able to make a difference in a man's life. It proved to me that school can be more than a collection of lectures, easily forgotten, but an experience - however small it may be - that changes the society in which we live.

It's amazing how much I've gotten from my Practicum experience. In fact, it's still evolving. Currently, I'm talking to representatives from "A New Path," the organization I worked with during my Practicum. "A New Path" is a non-profit organization of parents, citizens, and community leaders who focus on treatment rather than incarceration for non-violent drug offenders. Most of "A New Path's" funding comes from Proposition 36. I will be in touch with representatives now at a time when Prop. 36 funding may be reduced. I'm going to work with resident faculty member Frank Papatheofanis to create a policy paper to be given to the legislature through lobbyists on issues addressing Prop. 36 and reduced funding.

Why do you love Sixth College as much as you do? It blends the aspects of culture, art, and technology. All are interwoven in society, and the ability to incorporate each is a vital tool that will be used in my future and the future of fellow Sixth College students. This was made evident to me by the Practicum course.

If you could give one piece of advice to other Sixth College students, what would it be? Immerse yourself in school, and find a niche where you can realize your potential and use it for the good of yourself and those around you.

- By Beverly Gallagher