Bermudian Oxford student named a Future Leader by UK magazine
Not so long ago, Kevin Minors Jr was studying hard to win a coveted place at Oxford University.
Now the 20-year-old Warwick Academy graduate has been named as one of the top future leaders in England by Future Leaders 2012-2013 magazine.
Kevin, a mathematics student in his third year at Oxford University, was actually named as the top male by the magazine and placed sixth overall out of 100 future leaders who were chosen by polling universities and colleges in Britain and then asking for their recommendations.
The recommended students then went through an interview process.
When Kevin graduated from Warwick Academy, he was the first student in Bermuda to receive a level seven in Higher Level Mathematics in the International Baccalaureate (IB) examinations and twice won the Maths Olympiad math competition sponsored by the Centre for Talented Youth (CTY) programme.
He was the first student from Warwick Academy to matriculate directly into Oxford University and he was also captain of the Bermuda Under 18 National Basketball team for two years and volunteered at the Matilda Smiths Williams Seniors Home.
At Oxford he has maintained a charitable orientation and helps with the Kids Enjoying Exercise Now (KEEN) programme.
The focus is on exercising and playing with kids who have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or are disabled, said Kevin, who was home for Christmas. It runs weekly during the Oxford term.
You play games and get to know the kids and let them know that there are people who care about them.
I got involved in my second year and I have been addicted ever since. It was really good to give back to the community and help someone in need.
He is still playing basketball, and is on the Oxford University basketball team.
It has been amazing, he said. It has been tough and training is quite often. We are playing against some really good teams in England but I have enjoyed it a lot.
But one of his most impressive recent achievements has been raised $4,400 for charity Childreach International through a sponsored eight day climb of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
Mount Kilimanjaro at 19,341ft above sea level is the highest mountain in Africa and the highest free standing mountain in the world.
Average temperatures on the mountain can range from 104F (40C) to -4F (-20C) depending on your altitude on the mountain.
Childreach International raises money for the healthcare, human rights and education of needy children around the world.
We spent the first day visiting a local school to see where the money would be going to help the local community, said Kevin. The school was very interesting.
We got to see the old buildings verses the new buildings that were built with the money raised by Childreach.
There was a huge difference. In the original buildings, there were pieces of the roof missing, and the blackboard was broken and pieces were missing.
The new buildings had metal roofs, with walls and a proper blackboard, he said. It was good to see that before we started our climb because we knew that our efforts were going toward a worthy cause. It motivated us to climb Kilimanjaro.
The group spent five days climbing the mountain and two days coming down again. They walked for eight to nine hours each day, climbing thousands of metres.
Kilimanjaro is unusual in that you have so many different layers of terrain. At the very bottom we started with rainforest.
It was very hot and raining quite a bit. Then we went up to rocky mountain and then almost like desert at another level and then at the top it was an ice-capped mountain.
The climb was by no means easy. He described it as stressful and exhausting. All members of the group battled altitude sickness to varying degrees.
The altitude sickness was a big factor for a lot of people, Kevin said. I did suffer from it myself but very mildly.
I had a bad headache for the majority of the climb so I just took some mild pain relievers and I was okay, but some people were uncontrollably sick.
Everyone kept going. On their last day climbing up, they climbed for eight hours, slept for two hours and then awoke at midnight to continuing climbing so they could reach the summit at sunrise.
Everyone made it to the top, despite the high level of altitude sickness among the group.
That was very exhausting because we hadnt had any sleep, plus we were very high up, he said. It was dark so you couldnt see the sights or anything like that. That was the hardest point. I dont think there was any point where I thought I cant make it.
At the summit of the mountain it was so cold that they were quickly hurried back down the mountain by their guides.
After the experience I felt satisfied to know I had met this huge talent, he said. I was really scared at first. I didnt want to do it and thought I couldnt do it.
Through training and preparation, I was able to do it, get to the top and see the sights and to be able to say I climbed Kilimanjaro. I felt changed in that way.
Now he is hoping to take the next Childreach International challenge next summer, a bicycle ride across India.
When he finishes with his education he would like to return to Bermuda and become an actuary. I have always had a passion for mathematics, he said.
He credits his teachers at Warwick Academy and his parents, Kevin Sr and Carol Minors for his success, so far.
My parents were very old school, he said. They definitely kept me in line.
I had some great teachers at Warwick Academy who encouraged me to push myself. I also have a personal drive to want to be better and constantly improve. All of those things combined and also a solid faith have helped me.
Useful website: www.childreach.org.uk/our-work/tanzania.
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