On Thursday, February 17th, junior Film major Dontae Hawkins received the 2012 Black American Achievement Award from Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro. Hawkins was given the award “in recognition of your determination and perseverance in overcoming obstacles in your life and becoming the outstanding young man you are today,” as inscribed on the plaque he was given at his award ceremony on Staten Island.
Hawkins, now 20 years old, was involved in a tragic accident when he was only three years old, an accident that doctors said he would never fully recover from. Almost a decade later, he has proven them wrong. His choices after the accident led him to this prestigious award. “I was given the award because after my accident in 1994, I did not give into the adversity and the negativity that surrounded me, but, instead, I realized it was because of a miracle that I survived. I decided to do something important with my life instead of going the same route as the violence that led to my accident.”
Hawkins, who was not expecting to receive any kind of award, also said he felt “very honored to win the award because when I was nominated, I felt that I hadn’t really deserved it, but now that I’ve had a chance to look back at it, I’ve overcome a lot and hope that my story can help inspire others that are going through rough times or adversity.”
So, what is next for Hawkins? He is continuing his academic carrier at LIU Post with ambitions of being a filmmaker. He also hopes that he can continue to inspire those around him to overcome adversity and never give up.