POMPANO BEACH — When Kenny Alexis and his sister left Haiti five years ago to join their mother in United States, he struggled to adjust while learning English – but made a conscious choice to overcome hardships in order to achieve a brighter future.
The Blanche Ely High School senior received the Jerome Edmund Gray Youth Achiever award during the annual African-American Achievers awards ceremony April 9. The event was sponsored by JM Family Enterprises Inc., Southeast Toyota Distributors and JM Lexus.
The award means Kenny will receive a four-year scholarship to attend Florida State University.
For now, Kenny is busy being a student at his Pompano Beach school and a volunteer for numerous organizations.
Kenny attends dual-enrollment classes at Broward College and ranks in the top three percent of his graduating class. He finds motivation in wanting “to be great at something,” and adds that he “would not let weakness steer him away from success.”
He is involved in several extra-curricular clubs including Beta Delta Sigma Math Club, Ely Scholars Association, Future Business Leaders of America and the French Club. Kenny also volunteers at his local library and tutors middle school students in math at an after-school program in Margate.
As a first-generation college student with a goal of becoming an actuary for a major insurance company, Kenny plans to graduate from Florida State University with a bachelor’s degree in actuarial science and pursue a master’s degree in financial mathematics.
The Jerome Edmund Gray Youth Achiever award is presented by The Jim Moran Foundation Inc., with funding provided through The Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship at Florida State University. Each year a high school senior who qualifies for financial aid and has applied and received admission to Florida State University, receives a four-year, needs-based scholarship.
The award is named after Jerome Edmund Gray, a former Achiever, who died in 1997. Gray was an accomplished lawyer for the Florida Department of Education and founded Broward County’s first black Republican organization.
He was volunteer general counsel for a local chapter of the NAACP and active in the Broward Bar Association. Gray is also remembered for inspirational talks he gave to students statewide about the importance of community involvement, according to a statement.