Spotlight Scholar: Sidi Genus

She could have been anyone. Kicking around a well-worn soccer
ball among a throng of cousins and friends on the warm sands
of Treasure Beach, Jamaica; an anonymous child in a tourist 
milieu – she could have been anyone. 

             


But she’s not. She’s Sidi Genus, an intrepid, adventurous, athletic young woman who stands out among any crowd. A beautiful, kind, and sparkling personality that outshines the sun when it bounces on glassy blue waters of her native Treasure Beach. Each day, Sidi and her friends and cousins played on the beaches near her uncle’s rental properties where, as a result of fortuitous accidents, an American businessman was staying while in town for a conference. He sat on the balcony overlooking the beach and watched as barefoot children passed a soccer ball back and forth – a rough version of his favorite sport and lifelong passion. There was something in Sidi that he couldn’t stop thinking about, even upon his return to America. The raw talent, her sheer athleticism, and the way she seemed to be in a state of complete fulfillment while playing the game – he saw something in her that he recognized in himself. He telephoned a few of his most connected colleagues and friends, and soon found himself back in Treasure Beach with the offer of a scholarship to a high school in the United States. He held a world of opportunities in his hands.

Sidi recognized this chance of a lifetime, and she packed her bags for Washington, D.C. A radical change from helping her parents with crops under the tropical sun with little electricity and no air conditioning at home, Sidi quickly acclimated to the fast paced, challenging routines in her new city. She studied twice as hard as her peers and worked even harder to master the style of American soccer. A charitable organization called ARK Angel Network learned of Sidi’s talent and dedication and they knew she should be a priority for them. Brian Wagner, co-founder of ARK Angel, met Sidi and decided without hesitation that she deserved whatever scholarship assistance they could provide.

By the time Sidi’s senior year of high school rolled around, she was a star on and off the field. She looked around at colleges – once a pipe dream – and discovered a small, Jesuit school in balmy Mobile, Alabama. She stepped on campus and knew she was home. At Spring Hill, Sidi's lifelong passion for politics has flourished. She has become friends with other international students, taken classes focused on global politics, and met others who are well-traveled and worldly. All of these things have helped shape her world view, and more than ever, she is excited about being a force for positive change in the world. "Understanding politics is important," she says, "because it offers great insight into how society operates and how certain things will affect you as an individual." Her experiences on the Hill have broadened her horizons, and now Sidi intends to take an active role in Jamaican politics understanding that her work could have positive effects on a global scale.

Three and a half years passed not without challenges – homesickness, grueling practice schedules, and rigorous courses kept Sidi on her toes. With just weeks until graduation, however, you won’t find her without that sparkling smile on her face. The days of long, strenuous practices are over and now she kicks the ball around with friends on the field where she led her team to victory so many times. She’s headed for New York City with a world of adventure and possibility at her fingertips, and Spring Hill College is a better place because she’s been here.

Sidi’s future is as bright as her smile. She hopes to travel to other countries helping those who are less fortunate, returning the favor of people who have visited her hometown and made a difference through simple acts of kindness. “I’ve seen how the kindness can impact the lives of those they help, and that is something I want to be part of,” she says. “I have gotten to where I am today through the kindness of people I have met along the way. Because of that, I too hope to one day make a positive difference in the lives of others.

Yes, she could have been anybody. Here on the Hill, however, she is the most sparkling gem of Treasure Beach!

 

 

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