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Sports and drive for success serve as winning combination for KC Royals Charities Scholar and future veterinarian

As a sophomore at J.C. Harmon High School, Alicia Alonso wasn’t initially informed about the 20/20 Leadership program until teachers encouraged her to apply.  She was intrigued by the opportunity to develop leadership skills, plus the program’s tout of providing assistance with college preparation. After hearing that, Alicia was sold and bought in even more after learning of the scholarship opportunities.  She made it a goal to be named as one of the five Royals Charities Scholars as a senior and her dedication paid off.  “I started working on my essay as soon as the questions were available and even had five teachers review it for me,” she said.

On the evening of the Shining Stars Awards Celebration, the event where scholarship winners are announced, the soccer captain had a game. “I was hoping I missed the game for a good reason,” she said with a smile.

Alicia is the oldest of three and will be the first in her family to attend college.  As the oldest, she has always been tasked with the responsibility of setting the example for her 16-year-old sister and four-year-old brother.  “It is my job to show them the right way,” she said.

Those leadership skills that began within her home translated to her ability to lead Harmon’s 20/20 Olympics project for the last two years.  In 2016, the project team took third place for their idea of having an outdoor classroom on campus, another phase of the Harmon Hub.  Fundraising challenges for the project lead the students to an idea that could be completed before graduation: getting futsal courts.  As it turns out, city government officials were debating on a location and Harmon students met with commissioners, convincing them to put the court on their campus.  The second phase includes adding lights so that the courts can be used after dark.  The experience of talking and meeting with commissioners has also helped Alicia grow as a leader. “Before 20/20 Leadership, I didn’t even know who the commissioners were and now, I’ve gotten a chance to know them and my community even better as a result of the program.”

Even though her parents did not attend college, education has always been a focal point in their household.  Alicia remembers that her mother has always been involved in her educational endeavors, ensuring that she was taking the hardest courses that would be helpful for her in the future.  Her father was also the one who introduced her to Kansas State University.  The university, home to one of the top veterinary schools, has always been at the forefront of Alicia’s mind, so much so that she reluctantly applied to other colleges.  “I only applied to others because I had to,” she reflects. 

Alicia will be spending the summer working as an intern for CEVA Animal Health, an organization that makes vaccines for animals.  When she heads to Manhattan in August with all expenses covered after earning more than 10 scholarships, she anticipates minor challenges, but is more excited about the opportunities.  “I am fulfilling a lifelong dream, along with the ability to have new experiences and meet new people,” she said.