For some, not having a father figure could send one on the wrong path, one where resentment and the pain of missing a parent might steer them in the wrong direction. But for Kevardo, whose father left him and his brother at a young age – it only propelled him to want to be the strong father figure his brother needed. He wanted to break the cycle and step up as a positive role model for his younger brother, someone he could look up to and admire. “Since I didn’t have a father, it gave me the mentality to keep going forward even though I didn’t have the person I wanted there. I want him (my brother) to have the mindset of achievement and success.”
After his father leaving at the age of five, Kevardo spent a few more years in Jamaica with his grandmother, before returning to the United States. When he arrived in the US he was nervous about joining a new school, fitting in, and learning a new language and culture. However, Kevardo’s dedication to himself and his family pushed him to achieve academic success and accomplish his goals. While at A. Philip Randolph High School, Kevardo took accelerated courses and was nominated by school leadership to be a Youth Leader in ESH’s Student Success Center at his school. Like the role he takes on for his brother at home, Kevardo saw this as an opportunity to guide other students so they took could reach their full potential. In this role, he mentored his peers and assisted them in developing their post-secondary plans. “He is the embodiment of what it means to live in service of others,” his ESH Advisor remarked, “he went above and beyond to implement new ideas in the school and work with even the most disengaged students.”
Kevardo’s latest achievement is winning the 2019 Viacom United Neighborhood Houses Scholarship. The scholarship, which is only earned through a competitive and rigorous application process, seeks to uplift students who show a dedication to promoting positivity and leadership in their community. For Kevardo, not only was he excited to receive financial support towards furthering his education, but by winning this scholarship he felt recognized for his hard work and for his perseverance. Winning this award showed Kevardo that he was seen, appreciated and that there are people who believe in him and his future.
This fall, Kevardo started at Le Moyne College in Syracuse where he uses the skills he developed within the Student Success Center in his role as a Le Moyne Student Ambassador, conducting campus tours for prospective students. Looking forward, his aspiration is to continue to be in service to others by pursuing a career in the medical field.