MEMPHIS, Tenn. — In a city where the headlines are often filled with crime, negativity and death, a 17-year-old is serving as a beacon of hope for those caught up in the daily struggle of life.
"I just stay away from the negativity and try to always be positive," Kevuntez King told WHBQ.
For King’s full story, you have to go back several years, well before many may have seen him on a street corner selling newspapers.
He grew up in a single-parent home with just his mother. Her influence shaped the rest of his life.
“She just taught me how to be independent like she had it, (and) she just wanted me to go get it myself,” King said.
Fast forward through the years, and King was given the opportunity at the age of 12 to sell newspapers.
He has held that job for the last five years, and he had one goal in mind the whole: Make enough money to pay for his college education.
“When it came down to school, my mom didn't have to come out of pocket to do anything or I didn't have to take out any loans to go to school,” King said of his goal.
During his time working at an east Memphis intersection, King has gained quite the following. People have become fans of his attitude and work ethic, and they have also ended up becoming some of his biggest supporters.
At the same time, he has earned straight A's in school, and played a number of sports.
“I bowled, I golf, I play tennis; I also swim and I played baseball and basketball,” King said.
Now, his original dream has come true.
King made roughly $200 every Sunday for the past five years. In the end, he was accepted into Tennessee State University and made enough to pay for the education himself.
Now, the Memphian has a humble piece of advice for anyone who is watching and wants to listen.
“Make sure you surround yourself with people that's trying to go up in life and not trying to bring you down. Just stay positive and always believe in yourself and push for it,” King said.
© 2020 Cox Media Group