Luis Carlos Llopez

Henderson Middle School teacher Luis Carlos Llopez with former student Kenia Delgado.

Henderson Middle School teacher Luis Carlos Lopez asked to write a piece about a shining former student of his who was recently deemed El Paso Youth of the Year by the Boys & Girls Club of El Paso. Lopez, a native of Nicaragua and avid Krav Maga enthusiast, was once a full-time reporter and now does freelance work for What’s Up.


I’ve heard it said that late comedian Phil Hartman wanted to be “anonymously famous.” Truth be told, I left the newsroom a year ago because I wanted to stop reporting news and start making waves of my own, albeit behind the scenes.

Teaching is providing me that opportunity. The hard work and preparation goes uncelebrated and unnoticed. But then, when you least expect it, magic happens. Magic like what took place last weekend at the Boys & Girls Club of El Paso Youth of the Year Gala.

My former student, Kenia Delgado, a fearless 13-year-old who is not shy about speaking her mind, invited my wife and I to the gala. She was bidding for the recognition and wanted us to be there, so much so that she chased me down after school to ensure that my invitation was hand-delivered.

“Now I’m a 13-year-old girl. I consider myself a good role model. I do sports such as volleyball, basketball and I’m willing to do soccer this year,” Kenia said during her speech. “I’m in the gifted and talented program and I also help my sister and help my mom. I highly encourage you guys to take your children, grandchildren, sons and daughters to the Boys and Girls Club – a great place for more opportunities.”

In her speech, Kenia spoke about losing her father at age 5. She also talked about her short stint with bad friends and how joining the Boys & Girls Club offered an outlet and helped her become a role model both at home and school.

Her remarks resonated with the crowd. Kenia was named youth of the year. Her next step is to compete at the state level. Kenia has her eyes set on winning that and heading to the White House. If there’s anything I’ve learned from this kid, it’s that if she wants something, you better get out of her way. I have no doubt she’ll have something salient to share with Beltway’s elite.

Keynote speaker and National Football League Hall of Famer Andre Reed praised Kenia’s recognition. Like Kenia, the former Buffalo Bill was also a Boys & Girls Club kid.

“Going to these clubs and seeing these kids, we must give them inspiration,” he said. “We have to encourage them. We have to show them that we care about them and that they can be anything they want to be.”

The club’s chief executive officer, Anthony Tomasheski, noted that the Boys & Girls Club aims to change the lives of children like Kenia every day.

“We can only do it with the support of the community,” Tomasheski said. “We are always looking for volunteers – those individuals who want to make a difference and help our children.”

I’m not taking credit for Kenia’s achievement. She did that on her own. She was part of my first group of students and I suspect I learned more from those wonderful knuckleheads than they did from me – don’t share that with my boss though.

Children such as Kenia are the reason I’m a teacher. There’s a lot of work to be done. If I’m to make a difference, I must roll up my sleeves and work alongside those at Henderson who make a difference every day.

Whenever Kenia or other students chase me down to invite me to a game or some other function, it’s a humbling experience. It motivates me to do more behind the scenes to help these kids.

Oh, yeah one last thing. My new friends at the Boys & Girls Club and I gave Kenia homework. I need a draft of your speech by Friday, kid. We have work to do. Let’s get you to the White House.

By Luis Carlos Lopez / comment: @whatsupweekly

Henderson Middle School teacher Luis Carlos Lopez asked to write a piece about a shining former student of his who was recently deemed El Paso Youth of the Year by the Boys & Girls Club of El Paso. Lopez, a native of Nicaragua and avid Krav Maga enthusiast, was once a full-time reporter and now does freelance work for What’s Up.

I’ve heard it said that late comedian Phil Hartman wanted to be “anonymously famous.” Truth be told, I left the newsroom a year ago because I wanted to stop reporting news and start making waves of my own, albeit behind the scenes.

Teaching is providing me that opportunity. The hard work and preparation goes uncelebrated and unnoticed. But then, when you least expect it, magic happens. Magic like what took place last weekend at the Boys & Girls Club of El Paso Youth of the Year Gala.

My former student, Kenia Delgado, a fearless 13-year-old who is not shy about speaking her mind, invited my wife and I to the gala. She was bidding for the recognition and wanted us to be there, so much so that she chased me down after school to ensure that my invitation was hand-delivered.

“Now I’m a 13-year-old girl. I consider myself a good role model. I do sports such as volleyball, basketball and I’m willing to do soccer this year,” Kenia said during her speech. “I’m in the gifted and talented program and I also help my sister and help my mom. I highly encourage you guys to take your children, grandchildren, sons and daughters to the Boys and Girls Club – a great place for more opportunities.”

In her speech, Kenia spoke about losing her father at age 5. She also talked about her short stint with bad friends and how joining the Boys & Girls Club offered an outlet and helped her become a role model both at home and school.

Her remarks resonated with the crowd. Kenia was named youth of the year. Her next step is to compete at the state level. Kenia has her eyes set on winning that and heading to the White House. If there’s anything I’ve learned from this kid, it’s that if she wants something, you better get out of her way. I have no doubt she’ll have something salient to share with Beltway’s elite.

Keynote speaker and National Football League Hall of Famer Andre Reed praised Kenia’s recognition. Like Kenia, the former Buffalo Bill was also a Boys & Girls Club kid.

“Going to these clubs and seeing these kids, we must give them inspiration,” he said. “We have to encourage them. We have to show them that we care about them and that they can be anything they want to be.”

The club’s chief executive officer, Anthony Tomasheski, noted that the Boys & Girls Club aims to change the lives of children like Kenia every day.

“We can only do it with the support of the community,” Tomasheski said. “We are always looking for volunteers – those individuals who want to make a difference and help our children.”

I’m not taking credit for Kenia’s achievement. She did that on her own. She was part of my first group of students and I suspect I learned more from those wonderful knuckleheads than they did from me – don’t share that with my boss though.

Children such as Kenia are the reason I’m a teacher. There’s a lot of work to be done. If I’m to make a difference, I must roll up my sleeves and work alongside those at Henderson who make a difference every day.

Whenever Kenia or other students chase me down to invite me to a game or some other function, it’s a humbling experience. It motivates me to do more behind the scenes to help these kids.

Oh, yeah one last thing. My new friends at the Boys & Girls Club and I gave Kenia homework. I need a draft of your speech by Friday, kid. We have work to do. Let’s get you to the White House.

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