KIM COLES ’80: CLASS CLOWN

Kim Coles Entering Brooklyn Tech with no intention of becoming an engineer, Kim Coles ’80 quickly observed that she stood out in the crowd. Surrounded by more than 5,000 future scientists, executives and engineers, she was a born comedian and performer.

By capitalizing on this distinction, Coles carved out a path not only for success at Tech, but toward a celebrity career as a TV star.

Instantly gravitating to Tech’s drama program and cheerleading squad, Coles developed a comedy routine that delighted fellow students and propelled her up the popularity ladder – she was Class President all four years.

Next stop – Hollywood.

Coles achieved national prominence as Synclaire James on the hit show Living Single and has appeared on Frasier, Six Feet Under, The View and In Living Color. Along the way she has written books and created and performed in theatrical productions.

But it all started at Tech. That, she says, was “where my creativity was born, and I felt free and safe to hone the life skills that I still use today.”

“I had watched Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett on TV but I had never performed before Brooklyn Tech,” she explains. “I was the chubby girl at the time – I didn’t want to go through high school with that label, so I decided I would make people laugh. It was a ploy to make people like me.”

Not content to simply make the cheerleading squad, she improvised a routine of comic moves and funny walks that frequently stole the show.

In addition to opening up a stage upon which the seeds of a professional career would later blossom, Brooklyn Tech instilled something even deeper in her.

“You had a sense that you were special because you were there. Not better, but special,” she recalls. “There was a sense of opportunity – if you wanted to learn more, the teachers would provide it. You were allowed to be as marvelous as you were.”

Among her most meaningful memories is how students of varied backgrounds united as one under the school’s banner: “We were girls of all races, but we were all friends and sisters.”

To this day, Coles says, conversations start and opportunities arise when she tells people she is a Technite: “There is a prestige attached to the school. There are doors you can get in because you went to Brooklyn Tech.”

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