Name: Moses Moxey
Hometown: West End, Freeport, Bahamas
Major: Industrial Distribution
Activities: UNK Student Body President, Student Regent, Black Student Association, African Student Association
Wife: Nakuya, a sophomore at UNK
By ADRIANNA TARIN
KEARNEY – Moses Moxey started saving money for college when he was in ninth grade.
The $3,000 he raised was a lot for a boy who grew up in a family of fishermen in West End, Freeport, Bahamas. But it was hardly enough to attend college.
So Moses, like many young men in the Bahamas, took on odd jobs at a local hotel and helped with fishing tours after graduating from high school in 2008.
“I couldn’t find a real job, and I didn’t have money to go to college,” he said. “I didn’t have what I needed, like grades or an outstanding talent to get a scholarship, so I just lingered.
“At that age, with no strong guidance of what to do, you are just left with wherever the wind blows you, like a sail.”
But Moses always longed for more. His dream? To attend college in the United States.
He never imagined that five years later he’d become Student Body President & Student Regent at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.
“But here I am,” Moses said, sharing his unlikely journey. “I didn’t plan to be president of a university. One December night, I thought, ‘Hey, I could be a student body president. I think I could do a lot of good things for this campus.’”
Moxey’s grandfather is legendary fishing guide Israel “Bonefish Folley” Rolle, who died in 2012. Rolle was known for guiding clients such as Ernest Hemingway, Martin Luther King Jr. and President Richard Nixon.
“My grandpa was a world-class fisherman. He wasn’t rich, but he was famous and good at what he did,” said Moxey, who credits his grandpa for teaching him the importance of hard work and humility. “My grandfather took people out on tours all the time and never asked these people for anything, so not to take advantage of them.”
Moxey recalls when he went to his grandfather for help.
“I asked him one day, ‘Can you ask these people if they will help me with school?’ And he said, ‘I don’t see why not.’”
Moxey’s grandfather opened his wallet, which had a stack of business cards and names of all the people he met over the years. Moxey started calling. He remembers making a daily schedule for each person he would call or planned to meet.
“My grandpa would talk to all the people he knew and talk me up, but then I would meet with them so they could get to know me,” Moxey said.
“I couldn’t just say ‘Here are my crappy grades from high school, and that’s why you should invest in me,’” Moxey said. “I couldn’t do that. I just told them, ‘Believe in my dream that I can do well in college and become someone who can give back to my community.’”
FIRST TRIP TO NEBRASKA
With his grandfather’s networking help, Moxey met people willing to give him money to attend UNK. Some gave big sums, and others could only give a little, he said.
One of his many sponsors is Ellen Kohn of the Kohn Foundation in Denver, which supports 19 students attending colleges in the Bahamas and abroad in the U.S. and Canada.
“Ellen came to the tiny town that I am from and said she wanted to help the students with their education,” Moxey said. “They were going to pay for students to go to a private school in the Bahamas, and I was the first recipient of that scholarship.
At first, Moxey didn’t accept the scholarship because he didn’t want to give up on his dream to attend college in the U.S. But after raising enough money to travel to the U.S., he was given the Kohn Foundation Scholarship.
Moxey’s first trip to Nebraska was when he moved here for school. Loneliness set in quickly.
“I didn’t come visit first, and no one came with me. I saw students and their parents shopping at Wal-Mart, and I was sad,” he recalls. “I needed a father back then, but I didn’t have it. And look at me know. I’m fine. It took me years to figure that out.”
Moxey, who married his wife, Nakuya, last summer, is an industrial distribution major and plans to graduate in 2014. He’s leaving his future somewhat unplanned.
“I have no plans for my life, and I’m not making any,” Moxey said. “However, I do have goals for my life. I want to be a good father, a good husband and I want to be successful.
“I don’t want to plan on living in a certain place and doing a certain thing,” he said. “If being successful means being here right now, that’s where I’m going to be and work hard while I’m here.”
Moxey just wants to live in the moment, while keeping in mind how he got where he is today.
“I’m still that Bahamian boy with a dream,” Moxey said. “Life’s happening. … I’m happy.”