You can immediately tell how dedicated Kevin Uyekawa is to college. Sitting in a classroom on campus with a mask on, he took time between classes to talk about his degree, his future, and what it means to earn a scholarship.
“’Progression is only achieved through dedication,’” Kevin said. It’s a quote (author unknown) he thinks of often; he even has it on his profile page as a Spokane Falls Community College tutor.
That dedication helped Kevin as he returned to school. A former machinist, Kevin was interested in earning his mechanical engineering degree. His uncle originally inspired him, along with the engineers he used to work with. The biggest inspiration to return to school, however, happened when Kevin’s son was born.
“I wanted to set a really good example for him,” Kevin said.
Before becoming a father, Kevin only had himself to provide for. Having someone else to care for inspires him to stay focused.
“I have to do this so he can have a more comfortable life.”
It can be a lot to juggle, though. Going to school while being a single parent creates a need for time-management. Especially after last spring, when Kevin’s classes went fully online due to the pandemic. While family and friends had been helping him by watching his son, he wasn’t sure if he’d have childcare for the fall. Plus, online classes were proving to be a challenge.
Things got tough enough that Kevin even began to wonder if he needed to take a break from school. That’s when he heard that he had earned the Kendall Family Scholarship.
“When I got the scholarship, I realized I had to keep going,” Kevin said. “Someone out there wants me to succeed. Donors don’t have to provide scholarships, but they do it anyway. Receiving that scholarship taught me that I can do anything.”
The scholarship re-inspired his dedication and reassured Kevin that being in school is the right decision. Now, nothing can stop him from continuing.
“Now is my chance.”
His family and friends have supported him while he’s been in school, and they’ll be excited when he graduates. But Kevin’s face lights up when he talks about what it will mean to himself to finish school.
“This is the biggest long-term goal I’ve ever pursued,” Kevin explained. “Finishing my degree will show me that those long-term goals are achievable. And it’ll mean that I’ll be able to reap the rewards of my hard work.”
Once he finishes his degree at SFCC, Kevin plans to transfer to a local four-year to get his bachelor’s. His goal is to use the knowledge gained from his degrees in real world applications.
“One day I might design a part using a drafting program. Or I might go out to test products, setting up a testing procedure to fi nd out what a part can handle before it goes into full production.”
It’ll be a challenge, but that’s where Kevin’s dedication will help him succeed. Even in school, what Kevin finds rewarding about the challenge of an education is working towards his final grades and recognizing, as he walks past equipment, that he’s developing a better understanding of how different products function. And he’ll take that same energy into his career.
After all, someone once said, “’Progression is only achieved through dedication.’”
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