Resident: Kenineson Cene
House: Frueauff

My name is Kenineson Cene, I am a first-generation college student attending Florida State University. ​In 2011, I excitedly began a new life in the United States, leaving my homeland of Haiti behind. I was 10 years old and ready to live the American Dream. However, once we settled, I realized that even the United States would be a challenging environment for me. I had to live in a tiny rented room with my parents and brother because my father had fallen on hard times. In America, we faced more obstacles than ever before.

My story is very complex and very long, but what is important is the opportunities I have created for myself despite all of my obstacles. I took my education very serious because I know that is my only way to success. I worked hard in school, so I could pursue higher education in order to benefit my family and myself. While in high school, I maintained a commendable GPA of a 3.8, served the community through various organizations, took care of my younger brother, and worked at Publix to make ends meet. At the end of high school, all of my hard work paid off. I got accepted to the Center for Academic Retention and Enhancement (CARE) program at Florida State University. I was filled with content, but that was just the beginning. Through CARE, I found the application for the Southern Scholarship Foundation (SSF) and applied. My parents are not financially stable, so I took the opportunity to get free housing at FSU with no hesitation. I have been living at SSF for two semesters now, and it is absolutely incredible and I am thankful for every minute I get to stay here.

Being educated and going to college was always one of the many goals I had set in mind, but there are many more I would love to accomplish with all the knowledge I’ve obtained and the one I will attain in college. First and foremost, I want to earn my professional civil engineering license right after college. Then, I would love to start my civil engineer career, so I can start helping my family and start making a bigger difference in this world. I want my parents to retire, so they can live out their life peacefully and happily. With that education I will also be a mentor and a support system for my little brother, so he can grow up successful in his life as well. Later on, I want to be a mentor or a coach to many other kids in addition to my brother. I was fortunate enough to have wonderful teachers and mentors to stand alongside me throughout my journey and steer me in the right direction, so I would love to do the same thing one day: be a guide and a teacher to the kids who have a rough life.

Moreover, after graduating college I have my career, financial, social, and family goals I want to achieve. My professional civil engineering license is crucial to all of my plans, so it’s the first and the most significant goal. Afterward, I want to purchase a better house for my family. Later on, I want to go back to Haiti frequently to help change the community I was raised in by building better schools, creating a suitable and safer environment for the homeless, and much more. I have always wanted to help and if I can get the chance to help even a single person get a better life, it would mean the world to me. Going back to my nation and making a tremendous impact on the kids, teenagers, adults, and communities is one of my lifelong goals and dream. I have many more goals and I know I will have more in the future, but I’m trying to take one step at a time to make all of these goals a reality.