Dimitric Edwards, a senior English education major with a minor in history, is completely aware of the many turns life can take, yet he’s made it to where he is nonetheless.
“Specifically on my mom’s side of the family I have made it the furthest through college,” Edwards said.
Edwards’ family includes his mother Angela, sister Chanee and two brothers Voncell and Brian.
“My mom, bless her, always says, ‘I’m going to support you in your future endeavors no matter what,’ and I’m like, ‘Mom, sometimes I need you to say no so I know when it’s for real for real,’” Edwards joked.
Edwards’ mother gives her advice as a friend, but more importantly as a parent. This may be because of his jam packed schedule.
Edwards is a supplemental instruction mentor, the president of the Minority Men’s Organization and the president of the Student Missouri State Teachers Association. He manages being involved in all of these organizations while being a peer advisor for University Seminar. At this point, being a full-time student takes up the least of his time.
He makes a point though to remind everyone how he always has time to play a little basketball, as he gets up early just to shoot around with some of his friends.
Many of these friends have had the opportunity to walk around campus with Edwards and immediately notice something about him: He is the kind of person who will treat you as if he has known you his entire life.
This is something always present when getting to know Edwards. Anyone on the side of the street would be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t think Edwards approaches every single person with the same openness given to even his closest friends. This is the sort of attitude many can expect when talking to Edwards.
Edward’s childhood friend Manuel Hernández, a senior at Kansas State, agrees with some of these claims, but is adamant about some of Edwards’ more stubborn qualities as well.
“He’s stubborn, but very ambitious,” Hernández said. “He’s my best friend, I’ve known him since he was a cry baby. I used to stay the night at his place in grade school and we’d be up all night playing PlayStation 2.”
Finding the right path to take in life can be the most difficult thing anyone can go through. Many like to believe they can see what’s laid out in front of them, but often times things are not so simple.
“English class is where I found my purpose,” Edwards said. “This is where I thought, ‘maybe I want to teach English, maybe I want to go into teaching,’ and during that same time I was taking American History. I noticed my teacher for that class, Mr. Conway, was the only black teacher I had ever had.”
Edwards went on to explain the significance of this observation and what it had to do with his decision to become an education major.
“You don’t see a lot of black males in education, and I wanted to be the role model and teacher that he was for me,” Edwards said. “I wanted to be that role model for young black males. Obviously, I want to do that for every kind of student, it’s not an exclusive thing, but I want to be that example for that group in particular. Because my cousin, Samir, did everything right, but he could have only have done so much.”
Edwards’ cousin, Samir Clark, is one of the most important people in his life. Edwards feels Clark and who he was as a person is one of his defining role models.
“Samir and I were at my house during my sophomore year playing some Call of Duty, just talking and hanging out,” Edwards said. “School was just about to start for Samir and he had transferred to Middle Tennessee State, which was so weird to me because at his other school he was on scholarship to play football. So I asked him, ‘Why’d you transfer? You were so good at what you were doing, why leave it?’ He told me that he just didn’t love the game anymore. He felt like he was playing for other people and not for himself.”
During this time an argument had started just outside of Edwards’ house. His sister, Chanee, was making dinner while his mother, Angela, was resting due to a surgery on her neck, leaving her nearly paralyzed.
“Samir looked to me and said, ‘Dimitric, look, do what you want and do what you have to do to make sure you are happy first. Don’t let others live through you, live your own life and be yourself. If you do that every day, you’ll be successful,’” Edwards said. “In the moment it just seemed like good advice, but looking back, it was almost as if Samir knew his time on this Earth was running out.”
At this point in time Edwards left the room to go shower, while the argument outside began to escalate. By the time he reaches the door, gunshots are going off.
“Two went off in the living room, one went off in my sister’s room and two went off in my room. One of which, shot Samir in the neck and killed him,” Edwards said. “I saw the bullet casings, I saw the gunshot wounds, I saw him get taken to the ambulance, I saw him put on a stretcher and I was there when they said he wasn’t going to make it. I’m not saying I was ever going down the wrong path, but I really took Samir’s last words to heart. I had always known I wanted to give back to others in some way, but I didn’t know how to do it. Samir showed me the way to do it.”
Edwards went on to discuss how there is a bit of guilt felt on his part for surviving. He says Clark was the one with his direction all figured out while, at the time, he didn’t. It is through this though, Edwards feels a role as an educator is how he will be able to cause the most change.
As traumatic as the incident is, Edwards feels he has become a much more dynamic individual after the day of the shooting. Just this last summer, his hard work payed off when he was able to live out a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Edwards was given the opportunity to study Shakespeare in London, something he has always wanted to do. After going from a family where he had only ever been out of the country on cruises, London left Edwards in awe.
“I just never thought it would happen,” Edwards said. “My philosophy the moment I got there, even though my wallet hated me for it, was to never to tell anyone no, and to never stay in my room. I did what I had to do well, but it was a once in a lifetime experience. I met so many people through the trip, but it felt like we had all always gone to school together.”
Edwards had managed to go all the way from Kansas City to London, France and some places he had never heard of. His accomplishes didn’t stop at being the first to go this far in his family with education, and it is clear he won’t stop at London either. For Edwards, it’s all about learning and giving back.