May 17th, 2016.  A member of the graduating Class of Hinsdale Central was chosen for his notable character and commitment in helping others.

James Walker stood out in so many ways. One of his acts in helping others reminded us so much like Kelli’s actions. He refused to leave another student behind because of a better social opportunity that presented itself. Instead he told his friends “that Julian and him were a package”. It was either going to be the both of them or neither of them. In today’s world this just does not happen that often at any age. Here is part of James story:

James had met Julian. Julian struggled through life. His parents belittle him for being too sensitive, his peers laugh at his quirks and old-man body, and every girl he has a crush on rejects him without hesitation. Julian an 18-year-old, misunderstood Mexican adolescent.

Julian had opened up to James about his depression and how he would fee ashamed or suicidal . How his parents had treated his depression like it was a character flaw. James stuck with him just like Kelli would to try and help Julian understand that this was not a character flaw, but mental illness that could be helped by seeking medical treatment. That he shouldn’t feel ashamed of his depression, just like a diabetic should feel ashamed of their illness.

But it wasn’t until it came time to leave, to say goodbye to Julian, that he realized the effect he had on him.

“I won’t forget you, James Walker. Please, whatever you do, keep in touch. I’m begging you. Do not become a stranger.” James reassured him that I would keep in touch, and after several minutes, James said goodbye. But not for long. As soon as James got home, he turned on his phone to find several messages from Julian. And since then, Julian and James have talked several times a week. James continue to counsel him through the difficulties with his parents. Julian calls crying when his depression is at its worst, and James does his best to reassure him that the is there for him. James tries to be a voice of compassion in Julians world of turmoil.
Julian has become as important to James as James is to Julian.

While James is proud of the service he has done at Vacation Bible School or the Soup Kitchen, those experiences aren’t nearly as personal as his relationship with Julian.

James action is priceless and one to be commended.

The foundation is extremely proud in presenting the KJO Scholarship to James Walker. We wish James the best of luck in achieving his “DREAMS” in the next Chapter of his life at Northwestern University.

<3 KJO Foundation<3

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