Obviously, the news of the day is going to be surrounded about Princess Kate going into labor early Monday morning. People are speculating on the sex of the Royal baby, the name of the Royal baby, and other trivial pieces of information regarding the birth of this child.
However, in Kansas City, a teenager’s death has made a huge difference to at least two other Kansas City teenagers by helping them follow his dream of attending college. Nelson Hopkins, Jr., was attending Kansas City’s Alta Vista’s Charter school, earning excellent grades, and taking dual-credit courses at Metropolitan Community College-Penn Valley despite not having a computer at home. Hopkins, Jr., spent endless hours at the KC Public Library, using its resources, from technology to books, to supplement his education. It was when he was on his way home from the Plaza branch of the KC Public Library when he was robbed and shot. The killer took $45.00 but left the completed college application to Truman State University that Hopkins, Jr., had in his pocket (Robertson A1).
Nelson Hopkins, Jr., was a black student attending a charter school that had an attendance of mostly Hispanic students. Interestingly enough, it was a group of white students from Rockhurst University who were looking for a cause to support. They learned about Nelson Hopkins, Jr.’s story and chose to create a scholarship in his name for students from the charter school that would have been Hopkins, Jr.’s Alma Mater: Alta Vista.
Two students have been awarded the Hopkins Scholarships for this coming school year: Maria Castillo, 18, and Corina Guzman, 19. Both have compelling stories. Both young women were born in El Salvador and their mothers moved to the U.S. and have worked tirelessly to make sure their daughters had a chance at a college education (Robertson A10).
That is where their stories diverge. Guzman studied, interned at UMKC and prepped for her college entrance exams. She was sure she would be accepted to UMKC and eligible for scholarships and financial aid; however, in 2012 the laws changed and made her ineligible for most scholarships or for any government financial aid, despite all of her hard work. Thankfully, Avila University stepped in to help cover more than half her tuition, room and board, but she also was awarded one of the two Hopkins Scholarships, and knowing how hard he worked to try and be successful to go to college means so much more to her (Robertson A10).
Castillo’s path was different. Originally she was accepted to Kansas City’s prestigious Lincoln College Prep Academy; however, she did not take the academics seriously and failed to meet the standards to stay in the school. However, she was given a second chance at Alta Vista, and as a freshman she met with UMKC and Penn Valley students, and her eyes were opened to how education could give her endless opportunities. When she was a freshman at Alta Vista, she saw Hopkins, Jr., and the influence he had on his classmates. These experiences pushed her to embrace her academics and work toward being awarded the other Hopkins Scholarship (Robertson A10).
Hopkins, Jr.’s, family says that he loved the concept of diversity, and the idea of white students from Rockhurst University working to create scholarships in his name, a black teenager, that have been awarded to two Hispanic young ladies would just make his spirit fly. He would consider it the ultimate example of the title of his book of original poetry, Still Invincible.
Robertson, Joe. “Students Soaring on Teen’s Dream.” The Kansas City Star. July 21, 2013: Pgs. A1 and A10.