Local student faces adversity with determination

A local teen says the challenges he’s faced in life are only serving to make him stronger.

Moline senior Carlos Hawkins has lived away from his parents, who sent him away from their Chicago home in 2008 in hopes of giving him a better life with his sister in the Quad Cities.

“I just thought they were pushing another child away,” Carlos said.  “It’s very hard not feeling the family love…It changed me very much.”

Carlos pressed through the upheaval, stayed in school and he is a member of the Moline High School football team.

“I can’t believe he’s going through all of this,” said Moline’s head football coach Matt Woods.  “Every setback he has, he keeps going.  He doesn’t wallow in self-pity.”

Woods says he has seen a lot of student-athletes walk away from sports for a lot less than what Carlos is facing.

The challenges don’t stop there.

Carlos also now lives on his own.  Eleven months ago, he became a father.

“My son turned my life around,” Carlos said.  “I want to be a better dad than what my dad was to me…It’s very important to me.”

He could have quit football.  He could have dropped out of school.  He could have given up.

Instead, Carlos says he’s accepted his position and done what he had to do to make his life better.

Carlos says his fiance, his teachers and his parents have pushed him to stay focused and to graduate.

“Coaches say there are three types of people in the world:  There are quitters, which I’m not, climbers and campers.  I’m going to keep climbing ’til I reach my highest potential,” Carlos said.

Carlos says after he graduates from high school he wants to attend Western Illinois University in Moline.

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