Dozens of high school scholars piled into the Booker T. Washington Senior High auditorium on Tuesday ready to cheer on their classmates and accept awards for service and scholarships. Nearly all of the students knew who would be receiving awards except for one.
Ezekial Hobbs, to his surprise, was honored with the Biscayne Bay Kiwanis Club’s scholarship, a $30,000 award that will pay for his education at Florida A&M University. Hobbs sat among the crowd and it wasn’t until Rick Freedman, the Club’s scholarship committee chairman, started to list off specific accomplishments that Hobbs and his classmates knew who won the award.
“We’re so proud to be able to tell you that you now don’t have to worry about paying for that college education,” Freedman said.
Wiping away tears and receiving cheers and applause, Hobbs accepted the award and later thanked his grandmother and his family for pushing him to achieve.
“Education was something that I always believed in, that it would take me places in life,” he said.
Hobbs, 18, said that he hopes to set an example for his fellow students at the school, 1200 NW Sixth Ave., and for kids in Miami’s Overtown neighborhood.
“Whatever you go through just know that there’s light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.
His teacher and mentor Shamar Robbins said that he wasn’t surprised to see Hobbs selected for the award. Robbins said his student has developed into a leader over his four years. He is in the school’s National Honor Society, is the founder and editor of Booker T’s literary magazine and has also been an editor of the school’s yearbook. He plans to study journalism and political science at Florida A&M.
“He’s very passionate. If something doesn’t fall in line he gets a little agitated until he gets it right,” Robbins said.
Robbins said he also wasn’t surprised to see the student body express so much support for Hobbs as he received his award.
“All the students here know each others’ stories. It’s almost like a choir, they all sing each others’ praises,” Robbins said.
Hobbs was selected out of a group of 16 finalists. As he received his award, he posed with Stanley Tate, one of the founders of the Florida Prepaid College Program. Over the years the Biscayne Bay Kiwanis Club has awarded nearly $180,000 in scholarships throughout Miami-Dade County.