41 Action News Feature
Hey ya'll, my name is Darrien Case.
I am currently a business student-athlete at the University of Missouri - Kansas City. I am also a spoken word poet who performs all throughout the KC Missouri area. A poet named Rudy Francisco unlocked my voice through an online video and at 17 I began writing my story.
"Why Does This Campaign Exists?"
I came to UMKC blessed enough to receive a full-ride scholarship for Track and Field.
As a track athlete at UMKC, this is what I have accomplished the last 3 years,
-Broke a 15 year-old Outdoor 800m record
-Helped break the Outdoor 4X800m relay record
-Top 5 all-time in UMKC history in 5 different track events
-15 time W.A.C All-Conference performer
-2017 Outdoor 1500m W.A.C Champion
-2017 Indoor DMR and 4x4 relay W.A.C Champion
-2018 Indoor 800m W.A.C Champion
-A valued member of 3 different W.A.C Championship Track and Cross Country team titles.
I was entering my last season as a UMKC Track/Cross Country athlete and was told my scholarship would be removed because of my attendance to the 2018 National Poetry Slam (the slam was scheduled for the week before school had started). I study poetry as I pursue a minor in Creative Writing. I have always considered poetry a part of my career progression. I didn't miss any competitions but missed a week of practice and I informed the UMKC Coaching Staff nearly 2 months in advance. We are given the freedom to train on our own during the summer as it is the only time of the year we get the luxury of doing so. With my scholarship removed I have no access to the funds that were to be provided so I could take care of myself. I have no money for room and board nor the tuition I now owe. They pulled my scholarship a few days before school started without properly notifying me. I've decided that before the hearing to appeal the removal of my financial aid, I would start a campaign to find a positive outcome in all of this negative energy.
The accolades I've earned in poetry the last few years are as follows,
-Awarded "Best Newcomer" by the Music and More Poetry Foundation in 2018.
-6 time KC Poetry Slam Champion
-2 time FTW Poetry Slam Champion.
-Representative of KCPS at the 2018 National Poetry Slam
This year I was blessed enough to make the 2018 National Poetry Slam team for KC and represented my city in the biggest team poetry event of the world. Poetry has provided many opportunities in my life. This past summer, I was offered an internship by virtue of my poetry experience. I was a Copywriter for one of the most successful advertising agencies in the world: VML. I began writing on the digital platform for Gatorade and enjoyed every minute. Being paid as a creative is a goal of mine and just the first step in my career. I study Entrepreneurship and my main vision is to start a non-profit. The non-profit will seek to encourage the implementation of poetry in early childhood education. I've seen the positive impact an art form such as this could have on many kids. I was once that kid who felt as though his voice was insignificant. I wasn’t courageous enough to be outspoken about my own experiences. We find this especially common in our black youth of America. I want to pass down the same lessons I learned from my mentors in poetry and let children know their voices matter in any form they choose, not just poetry.
A collegiate athlete shouldn't be forced to choose only one passion when focused on growth. We are more than just numbers and statistics, we are kids with dreams and visions that travel past the years we spend at a University.
If I am not able to keep the scholarship I earned through my efforts in track and field, I will use the money to pay my tuition and living expenses. If I win the appeal, 100% of the proceeds, including excess, will be donated to local Kansas City school districts. With this money, I would promptly start programs dedicated to teaching poetry to the youth of our city. Poetry is more than an outlet, it's a release of all the vulnerabilities we hold within us. Regardless of what happens here on out, I am blessed with many opportunities because of poetry. There is no losing situation for me here and I am confident the people I love in this community will not stand idle should I fail the appeal.
At the end of the day, I forgive them still.
I serve a higher purpose in the kingdom of God and he will lead me further
down the path I am guided to pursue.
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