Twenty-two miles off shore from Long Beach is Catalina Island, where LBUSD’s Avalon K-12 school serves nearly 500 students. Among these students is senior Kaiwann King, who has become a hometown hero.
The Catalina Islander newspaper recently published a tribute headlined, “Kaiwann, Our King of Inspiration,” detailing this young man’s incredible journey. He grew up on the rough streets of Los Angeles, in housing projects where gang warfare was a nightly event. When he was nine years old, he lost his left arm and leg in a terrible train accident.
Despite his challenges, Kaiwann has thrived as a student and athlete. He became a key member of the basketball team, made the school’s honor roll, and was accepted to five universities. He was described as a positive force on the varsity team this past season, scoring 15 points in one game and nine in another.
Kaiwann’s goal is to study kinesiology in college and work in a field that is related to physical and mental fitness. He wants to help those who struggle with mental and physical ailments. He credits the tight-knit community of Avalon and its school with helping him to find his way.
“Coming to Avalon taught me how to live, because coming from the projects you’re exposed to bad things at a young age,” Kaiwann said. “I never had a really loving family, but I met a friend here, and she kind of invited me into her family, so I’ve got a family now. I’ve really learned how to live here, to be honest, the right way.”