April 7, 2017 – The Charlotte Hornets today announced Victor Miranda and Kay’lla Richardson have been selected as recipients of the Hornets Players Scholarship Fund. The two high school seniors will each receive four-year scholarships of up to $15,000 annually to pursue a bachelor’s or associate’s degree at a public North Carolina higher education institution of their choice. The scholarship, which was developed by the Hornets players in response to the social unrest and protests that occurred in Charlotte in September 2016, will cover education expenses such as tuition, fees, supplies, equipment and housing.
“My teammates and I started this scholarship with the hope of making an impact in two students’ lives and helping them follow their dreams,” said Hornets guard Kemba Walker. “Out of many deserving applicants, Victor and Kay’lla both stood out as candidates who have strong goals for college and beyond that will benefit not just themselves but many others as well. We are excited to be able to help them work toward those goals and look forward to supporting them along the way.”
A senior at William Amos Hough High School, Victor Miranda plans to attend the University of North Carolina and major in biology with the intention of continuing on to medical school to become a doctor. After Hurricane Katrina uprooted his family in 2005 and forced them to move to North Carolina, the storm and its results led to his desire to one day become a doctor and tend to the victims of similar disasters. Following the stress his own family felt, Victor was driven to explore how the human brain processes the fear of an upcoming catastrophe and how the heart accelerates at the sight of the destruction of the same event.
Victor hopes to use his education to help minimize the healthcare gap experienced by many people of lower incomes. His goal is to open a private practice that is accessible to people of all financial backgrounds, prioritizing quality, affordability and the health of patients. Victor says, “I believe that my education will empower me to one day provide health care for people, regardless of the thickness of their wallets. I believe that my education will give me the power to progress society in eliminating financial and racial barriers once and for all.”
Victor has a 3.72 grade point average, ranking 42nd out of 604 students in his class at Hough. He is a member of the Spanish, science and math honor societies and was also part of an initiative called “Dialogue Day,” a presentation given to the student body in hopes of educating students and accepting differences. Last summer, he volunteered at the Mecklenburg Health and Rehabilitation Center, and he has also volunteered at the YMCA as an assistant to the camp counselors.
In a letter of recommendation, his school counselor, Alison Graves, wrote, “Victor is the epitome of resilience and what the American Dream is all about. His ability to weather any storm, and look at all obstacles, with positivity is a unique quality that will take him far in life.” She added, “Victor is a young man who has all the tools to not only lead a successful life, but also lead a life of significance. … Victor’s positive energy, passion and ability to balance and do everything so well is simply astonishing. This humble and genuine young man is destined for greatness, and without question, he will succeed.”
Kay’lla Richardson is a senior at Mallard Creek High School. She also plans to study biology and continue to medical school. She has been accepted to both the University of North Carolina and North Carolina State University. Kay’lla was inspired to become a doctor in middle school after a medical student gave her baby sister a staph infection by using an unclean IV needle that resulted in her sister dying a month later. Kay’lla says, “I don’t want anyone to have to go through the loss my family went through as a result of carelessness, something that could have been prevented.”
After becoming a doctor, Kay’lla hopes to focus her efforts on those who cannot afford healthcare by offering inexpensive services. She is also considering going abroad to help people in third world countries where healthcare is lacking.
Kay’lla has a 4.8 grade point average and ranks 17th out of 550 students in her class at Mallard Creek. In addition to being one of the captains of the varsity basketball team, she is a member of the Executive Class Council, Senior Class Council, National Honor Society, National Technical Honor Society and National Science Honor Society. Kay’lla also volunteers weekly as a tutor at Highland Creek Elementary School and is in the Chick-Fil-A Leadership Academy, which is a nationwide high school leadership program. She participates in monthly leader labs and in “Impact Projects” that help serve the community. Last year, she was part of a group of students that hosted a carnival for elementary and middle school students and donated the proceeds to Levine Children’s Hospital.
Her basketball coach, Della Funderburk, calls Kay’lla “a wonderful leader and role model for other students.” She notes Kay’lla is “an outstanding student and has demonstrated academic excellence” while taking “some of the most challenging courses that Mallard Creek has to offer.” Funderburk continues, “Kay’lla truly is an all-around good student and a wonderful person. She is very intelligent, compassionate and driven.” Funderburk also states, “I have no doubt that her strong work ethic will continue to blossom and grow.”
In addition to financial contributions, the Hornets Players Scholarship Fund will also focus on mentorship and providing the students with the ongoing support needed to make it through college. Members of the organization, including players and coaches, will connect with and assist the students with their transition to college. In addition to serving on the selection committee, Hornets players will communicate regularly with the students and host the recipients and their families at future games.