A Graduate with 20/Plenty Vision
One day, Cori Noble settled down to take a nap and awakened to a nightmare. His vision was so blurry, he could not see.
That was 10 years ago, and many hospital visits later, Cori was diagnosed with neuromyelitis optica, a rare condition that affects eyesight and can cause paralysis. Paralyzed for six months, Cori eventually regained mobility but lost his sight completely.
With determination, deep religious faith, and the support of his family, the lifelong Paterson resident fought hard to keep his life on track.
In a major victory last December, Cori received his associate in science degree in Human Services, and he graduates in the Class of 2021. “The greater the test, the greater the testimony,” says Cory, who believes that “with God, all things are possible.”
A 2000 graduate of Eastside High School, Cori briefly attended PCCC in 2001, but did not follow through on college. He earned a cosmetology license, worked as a barber and tattoo artist, and held various manual labor jobs, until he lost his sight.
At the Joseph Kohn Training Center, Cori learned Braille and independent living skills to manage everyday life. “I realized how many people, especially young people, struggle to get the help they need to manage life,” he says.
In 2016, Cori enrolled again at PCCC as a Human Services major with the goal of helping others, especially youth. Navigating the campus with his cane, Cori soon became a familiar presence at PCCC, especially at the Office of Disability Services. “I am thankful for the services,” says Cori. “They helped me get books and materials I needed.”
Cori appreciates that the professors treated him like every other student. “I didn’t want special treatment. If they didn’t challenge me, I wouldn’t have gained anything,” he says.
The Human Services courses were his favorites, especially Group Dynamics with Professor Jennifer Gasparino. “That course was very hands-on,” said Cori. “Students got to run groups and get practical experience as counselors.”
Cori also served two internships: One at Eva’s Village, a social services center in Paterson where he did intake for adult clients; another with Upward Bound, a program to help at-risk high school students complete their education.
Cori found the work with the students fulfilling, especially when they created scenarios about teen issues and acted them out. “That helped them to understand how to make better decisions, especially about things like drugs,” he says.
A participant in the Men of Color initiative at PCCC, Cori commended the group where young male students at PCCC could talk openly about school and life issues, network, and receive guidance from mentors about daily life issues, such as money management and job searches. “There was no negativity,” said Cori. “It was a great group and did community service, too.”
Cori plans to continue his education toward a bachelor’s degree in Human Services through the Ramapo@PCCC program in order to prepare for a career in advising and supporting youth.
“Cori has always been determined to be successful and build his own empire,” says his wife, Nicole Trent-Noble, who is employed as a family service worker and is the primary caregiver to her husband.
Devoted to his family, Cori is grateful to Nicole and calls himself “the proud father of two gifted and talented boys,” who are ages 11 and 7. “Both are honor students and musically talented,” says Cori.
He talks to his sons about his blindness, telling them, “Daddy doesn’t have sight, but he has vision, and I can hear and I’m still here.”
The family resides in Paterson and are active members of the historic Calvary Baptist Church where Cori participates in the Men’s Fellowship and the choir, and their older son is the youth drummer.
Drawing on his own experience of maintaining faith in the face of challenge, Cori encourages his sons to dream big, to “use his ceiling as their floor,” and to “never give up, no matter what happens.”
Though he no longer has physical sight, Cori has gained deep insights over the past decade and expresses them in the poetry he enjoys composing in his free time.
“As I (Cori) move along without sight, my vision surely moves closer to 20/plenty. In this darkness I have been shown how as a whole mankind should not take anything for granted,” he writes in one of his poems.
“The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision,” says Cori. “I’m not sighted but I have 20/20 vision.”
Written by Linda Telesco
with Nicole Trent-Noble