Leonard Kwitonda’s life definitely hasn’t been a crystal stair. In 1994, his father was killed in the Rwanda genocide and he was left with just his mother and siblings. At 12-years-old, he traveled with the Rwanda Jr. Basketball Team, but while traveling in California. with the team, his uncle was killed and his family fled to Uganda. He was told to stay in the U.S because of safety issues.
When he was just 15-years-old, not able to speak English, he took a two day ride to Kentucky from California. He’s already lived with two foster families, but that hasn’t deterred him.
Leonard excels not only academically, but is also a star athlete on the basketball team and soccer team. This year, he will graduate with honors.
Leornard says, “I think I’ve come a long way. I don’t like to think of myself as a person who has a lot of issues. There is a lot of people who have more than myself, than I have.”
Jeffersonville Coach Matt Pait says Leonard’s story is inspirational, a teen who has overcome so many obstacles and adversity and is still successful.
Pait says, “He brings a lot of energy, he’s always smiling. Immediately when he’s in the game, it’s constant energy and effort. He’s the kid who gives 100 percent at everything he does.”
Audrey Baines,his current foster mother couldn’t be more proud of Leonard. “Leonard, if you meet him once or you meet him a million times, he’s always going to have a smile on his face, something positive to say. He’s as much a part of Jeff. as anybody who has been here forever and he’s so much a part of my family, I can’t imagine not having him in my life.”
Leonard is planning to go to college and study international business.