One year ago, Francis Kalombo Ngoy watched the Oyster Bay High School football team win their homecoming game with a crown on his head.
Sidelined from the soccer team by a state rule, Kalombo Ngoy, who had just been crowned the school’s 2014 homecoming king, cheered through his disappointment.
“It was difficult ... My teammates were also sad I was not able to play the sport I loved,” he said in an email interview. “At the same time, I was happy that I was still able to train with the team, I [was an assistant] coach during games and practices.”
Kalombo Ngoy, who emigrated from Africa with his family, repeated the ninth grade so he could master English.
With four years of varsity soccer already under his belt, and the New York State Public High School Athletic Association limiting students to four years of varsity sports, he was kept off the field for his senior year.
With the help of his parents, sisters, English teachers, coaches, and his school, Kalombo Ngoy said he was able to persevere. Now a part of the Class of 2019 at Denison University, he will be able to get a college education free of charge.
“I received an email from the admissions at Denison saying there is good news coming my way,” he said, about a week after he decided to attend the Granville, Ohio school.
Soon, he received a letter than he had won the Mary Carr Endowed Scholarship, worth $46,000 a year.
“I did not believe it at first,” he said. “I shared the news with my family ... my teachers, guidance office and the school principal.”
Now officially an American college student, Kalombo Ngoy said, “I still feel overjoyed, and grateful to God, Denison ... and my teachers at Oyster Bay.”