Al Lucas Memorial Scholarship Recipient
“My mom signed me up when I was eight years old. I did not want to do it, basically because it was like the whole stereotype, ‘Oh, he knows karate, he must know how to fight.’ And, people love to make fun of that sort of thing. So, I was in second grade. I didn’t want to do it because I thought I’d be made fun of.
I had my first class, and I took to it immediately. It kind of creates a safe environment in which you can do what you want really. I enjoyed it. It was my niche I found out really quickly. I’m still doing it.
So, for my school…once you get a black belt, it’s like you’re starting over as a new student. So, then we have these degrees…right now I’m a second degree. If I stick with it, I will be about 55 when I get my 9th degree black belt. You have to go to Korea to test for that.
It’s really cool. I’m definitely going to stick with it. But…I don’t really care as much about trying to get in the ranks. I am just interested in bettering myself as a martial artist.
It’s kind of all about determination and patience and responsibility and so many virtues that it teaches you. Everything that you learn there applies to school directly.
You have to practice there. Same way you have to take notes and study. It really teaches you that you get what you give. If you don’t practice…you won’t get the next rank. Here, if you don’t study for a test, you’re not gonna do so well.
“Getting the Al Lucas Scholarship, it’s good to know that there are still people who are looking forward to your success, and they’re willing to reward you based on what you’ve done. It’s also a reminder to give back to the community, just as they have done for me. I’m really thankful. It’s a reminder that whatever I do, I need to keep it up.”
I’m going to Mercer. So, I was going to major in psychology, and I switched to mechanical engineering, and I still want to do journalism. And I still want to do public speaking. I’m really all over the place. I don’t really have a set goal…yet. It kinda worries me because I don’t think I have enough time to go in and explore all my passions. It’s a bit overwhelming.
One disappointment is that I wish I had tried harder in school. You can have a 4.0 and go beyond, still. You know. Being president of Beta Club, I’ve now realize the power of a community, what you can do. If you put it to use, you know, you can make a really big change in someone’s life. And that’s something I realized through Beta.
I think if I would have done one thing differently, it’s definitely applied myself more in my early years of high school. And, moreover, just made a change in the community because that’s the best that you can do, right?
The opportunities I get every day make me excited for a new day. It’s the opportunity of doing something productive that’ll contribute to my success. It’s just bettering me as a person, and it’s moving me forward.
Growing up in a single-parent household in the middle class, it’s really difficult to move up that socioeconomic ladder. I live with my mother. I have to make sure, whatever I do, that I move up that ladder. I don’t want to stay in the place where I am. Watching my mom struggle, that’s really difficult. She wouldn’t let me get a job because I have to do what I have to do in school. I don’t even know where to start. I have to make it happen.
You never know who you’re gonna meet. Making a lasting impression, that is so important. Dressing well is another way to guarantee that you will make an impression.”
Story written by Susannah Maddux. Photo by Maryann Bates.