Vankey ‘Blu’ Burks is genuine. She’ll tell you right off, these last few years have not been easy.
“A couple years ago my mom got incarcerated so after that, me and my little brother became homeless, so we were just staying with everyone we could stay with to try to get into school. I just stayed with neighbors and kept pushing the issue like ‘I just need to get in school, once I get in school, I can do everything else from there’,” explained Blu.
She since moved in with her older sister and is now a leader at Westside High School.
“She’s always positive. If she hadn’t told me the story about her life, I wouldn’t have ever known. She’s a great student. Very well behaved. Very polite,” said Blu’s art teacher, Alice Schrynemeeckers.
Blu’s passion is basketball.
“Blu is one of the hardest working individuals I’ve ever been around. Her determination is unbridled,” said Coach Troy Gillespie.
She’s one of the three Brothers in Arms scholarship recipients. The night of the awards ceremony she also found out she was accepted into Stephen F. Austin State University, her dream school.
“That was great. It was amazing. I cried and I was just so excited, so happy. It was probably the best day of my life by far,” said Blu.
She’s successful because she didn’t let her situation define her.
“I never imagined these things to be happening to me today. I never gave up and that’s why I am here today and that’s why I’m going to be where I’m going to be in the future,” explained Blu.
She plans to major in architecture or business at SFA.