When Robert Little entered St. Lawrence Seminary High School in Mt. Calvary as a 14-year-old freshman, he admitted he was immature and had no idea what to expect the next four years. Accustomed to being the class clown, he did what he wanted when he wanted with no respect for anyone and, consequently, had a lot of trouble in middle school.

St. Lawrence Seminary High School student Robert Little (second from left) was awarded the $10,000 Herb Kohl Student Initiative Scholarship. (Submitted photo)

“It got to a point where I was talking to the police, getting suspended and had detention at least two to three days a week,” he said. “When I went to SLS, I grew up just a little bit, and started to have respect for others and could control my actions a little bit more, but there were still problems.”

Little continued to get into trouble and was on Behavioral Probation for much of his freshman and sophomore years. Somewhere, tucked in between antics, phone calls home and detentions, he started listening to various staff members telling him he needed to change.

“Probably by my junior year, I finally realized that I wanted to change to be who I am today,” he said. “I still do get in trouble, as any kid would, but maybe once or twice a quarter.”

Rather than Behavior Probation, Little is on the school’s Community Builder list for students with good behavior, and it was due to his complete change in attitude and behavior that he received the $10,000 Herb Kohl Student Initiative Scholarship. The annual scholarship is given to a student who has shown a high level of achievement and strong promise for succeeding in college and beyond.

According to Andrea School, SLS marketing and admissions coordinator, Little developed superb leadership skills, maintained high grades and consistently remained helpful to his peers and staff.

“Robert is very friendly, outgoing and a team player. He is a wonderful asset to the basketball, soccer and baseball teams, and is always working to build up his teammates’ spirits, while still working hard to improve his own skills,” she said. “Robert participates in many ministry opportunities offered by the school, including last year’s mission trip to Texas. He is a hard worker that will soon join the long line of outstanding St. Lawrence Seminary High School alumni.”

Little, who plans to attend Concordia University in the fall for nursing, said he was surprised to receive the scholarship.

“I was walking in the hallway to class when (guidance counselor) Mr. (Joshua) Brath stopped and told me to meet with him later about a scholarship,” he said. “He told me I was elected by a certain group of people in the school because of the great lengths that I have taken to change over the past four years.”

Active in sports, the yearbook staff and the school magazine, Little enjoys being active and maintains good grades and serves in school ministry, band, forensics and the school’s art magazine. He said attending two school-sponsored trips last year was a highlight of his time at the school.

“First, I went on a Cultural Exchange Trip in March and spent 10 days down in Lima, Peru, at the Colegio Santa Ana, our sister school,” he said. “Then, in May, I attended our school’s mission trip to Texas to help with people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.”

His education at SLS has helped Little prepare for college and to live a prosperous life. Through his teachers, staff, priests, faculty and other students, Little learned his former way of life would not have given him future success.

“My favorite thing about SLS has to be the brotherhood. I never had any siblings growing up and that is one thing I always wondered about having. Now I have 42 brothers in my class alone,” he said. “This brotherhood extends through the whole school and grows deeper in sports. Everybody does a lot together and spends almost all their time with other people. It gives me an extra sense of family when I am away from home.”

In addition to becoming a better student, Little credits SLS with him becoming a better Catholic and stronger in his faith.

“Before I went to SLS, I went to church, but not as often as I should have,” he said, “Now I go to church often.”

Little resides in Brussels and belongs to St. Louis Parish in Dyckesville. He lives with his grandparents, Teresa and Mike Souza, who he considers his parents.
“I know they are proud of my accomplishments; they always let me know,” he said, adding, “I will be the first one in my biological family to attend college and that makes them really proud of me.”