It’s been another overwhelming day, emotionally and physically, from the mere fact that I am allowing myself to go to bed too late! I’m committed to slowly but surely getting my biological clock back in order. So, I’ll try to get this posted before 1 a.m.
I’ve taken up a lot of entries to profile people who are friends of mine; people who are part of my life in a direct way. This isn’t meant to feed my ego in any way– on the contrary. I like to acknowledge the people who have supported “Holdin’ Out for a Hero,” even before “Holdin’ Out for a Hero” was born.
One of these remarkable people is Ken Carpenter, my former journalism professor at Valencia Community College.
I only had class with Ken for one semester, because I graduated from Valencia soon after, but the impact his guidance has had on my life is unparalleled. In fact, he may not realize it, but this cause, and the medium I have chosen to generate awareness of spina bifida, is his doing. (It’s all your fault, Ken! I listened to you.)
He had me as a student for a brief, rather tumultuous term (for me). Just a few short weeks into the semester, I had to leave unexpectedly for Puerto Rico. My grandfather, who had prostate cancer for about seven years, had taken a big turn for the worse, and Mami and I needed to be with our family.
I stressed horribly over what to do. I would have to ask for incompletes in all my classes, which had barely begun. Of course, Abuelito was my priority, but the one job my parents stressed I was ultimately responsible for during the college years was my homework.
I struck gold in having Ken as my instructor. He allowed me to submit other assignments, and I didn’t get an incomplete for the semester on my transcript. What’s more, he kept in touch with me via E-mail, and was genuinely concerned for me when my grandfather passed away– the very night we arrived in Puerto Rico.
So, in a strange way, I guess my friendship with Ken will always sort of remind me of my grandfather. But that’s okay. I refuse to forget.
I believe it was that following semester that Ken helped me get an internship with Central Florida News 13. He was a great advisor to me, always encouraging and frequently reminding me that I had what it took to be a good journalist. He didn’t need to tell me all this outright– I knew he believed it.
So, that’s pretty much the story of how Ken and I became friends. I’d also like to point out that the semester I took his classes, he assigned us the extra credit of starting a blog. Although my first attempt at “baring it all” online didn’t go too well (I was still grieving and I had a lot of bitterness), the seed had been planted. The subtle idea that would one day become– Holdin’ Out for a Hero.
I need not hold out any longer– Ken is a hero.
You can follow Ken’s Tweets here.