Charlotte Hornets respond to city’s unrest with scholarships for aspiring doctors

Kay’lla Richardson
Kay’lla Richardson

A Charlotte Hornets education initiative created in response to the violent protests Charlotte endured last summer has awarded a pair of multi-year scholarships aimed at changing the lives of two Charlotte teens.

High school seniors Victor Miranda and Kay’lla Richardson are getting four-year scholarships of up to $15,000 annually from the Hornets Players Scholarship Fund.

Money from the fund helps students pursue a bachelor’s or associate’s degree at a public North Carolina higher education institution of their choice. The cash can be used for tuition, fees, supplies, equipment and housing.

The two students will be recognized at Saturday’s Hornets game against the Boston Celtics.

“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 in a statement. “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.”

Miranda is a senior at Hough High and plans to major in biology at the University of North Carolina in anticipation of going on to medical school.

He and his family came to Charlotte as Hurricane Katrina refugees, and he says the storm’s impact on the lives of survivors is what inspired him to want to be a doctor.

Richardson is a senior at Mallard Creek High who also dreams of going to medical school. She has been accepted at both the University of North Carolina and North Carolina State University.

Richardson told scholarship judges she 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. Her sister died a month later, she said.

“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,” Richardson told scholarship judges.

Both Miranda and Richardson said they hope to use their medical skills to help low-income people in need of health care.

In addition to financial aid, the Hornets Players Scholarship Fund will focus on mentoring 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.