Volunteer Kevin Hawkins Photographs Sports and Inspiration at CRJHS
You'll often find him courtside or on the field looking for a split-second moment where he can capture a Cristo Rey athlete in action. Cristo Rey (CR) was curious about how Kevin came to volunteer for the school, using his passions and talents to make our students shine.
CR: You've been gracious with your time and talents for Cristo Rey. How and why did you get involved in doing this?
Hawkins: I worked in insurance for 37 years and retired in 2015, at which point I knew I wanted to retire to something and not just away from something. So, I sat down, thinking about where my interests are and where my skills lie. Where am I best able to help other people? If I could do something with photography, that'd be great for me personally and for helping others. My brother worked for Cretin-Derham Hall and suggested Cristo Rey as a place to check out.
CR: Why sports?
Hawkins: That was totally outside my comfort zone. For years, I have been doing landscape photography. I've gone to photography workshops all over the country, and that was my main focus, what I was good at. Sports photography is a totally different skill set because it's not just setting up your tripod and settings; it's movement. You have to anticipate what's happening, and the lights are changing constantly. I discovered settings on my camera I didn't know were there. Moving to sports photography helped me personally because I felt like I was plateauing where I was, and it was a huge challenge for me to figure out an entirely different area for photography. It helped me become a better photographer overall.
CR: Our school has really benefitted from your photos.
Hawkins: You know, I get at least as much out of it as you folks do. Just being in the presence of the Cristo Rey students is energizing. Other people my age tell me, "This younger generation, they don't want to work and don't respect anyone," or whatever. But I know going to Cristo Rey and talking with those students and discovering how wonderful they are, our future is in good hands.
Cristo Rey needs volunteers like me because, unlike most private schools where you have to have a certain amount of money before you can even consider it, Cristo Rey comes out from the opposite direction. The school helps a segment of the student population where there is no other place for them to go except unless they just went to public school, which may or may not be the best place for them.
CR: What do others need to know about volunteering for Cristo Rey?
Hawkins: I'll tell people or photographers from the other team this when I go to the games, "You know, this is really an amazing place. Cristo Rey provides the opportunity to kids that are likely the first ones in their family to ever go to college." And it's not just small schools, but going to some really high-class colleges too. I want to support that. I've benefitted from 12 years of Catholic school education, and I believe in the unique path that Cristo Rey has taken, so I'll do whatever I can do to help.
To view a gallery of Kevin's sports photos here and click the Photos tab. To volunteer at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School with your passion and talents, contact the Volunteer Coordinator at 612-545-9797 or visit cristoreytc.org/give