Bucknell University senior Leonard Joseph has created his own path in this world.
Joseph is going to Xavier University next year to pursue his master’s degree in industrial psychology. While he still has half of a semester left at Bucknell, when he leaves in May it will be as one of the most decorated track and field athletes in Bucknell history. He ranks first in the hammer throw, fourth in the weight throw, and seventh in discus. He has won three individual Patriot League Championships and earned Honorable Mention All-America accolades.
And to think that, at one point in his life, the possibility attending Bucknell, or any other university, was slim to none.
“I’ve been self-sufficient since I was 10 years old,” said Joseph. “Because of the way I was living at home it was necessary for me to be able to take care of myself.”
Prior to his senior year of high school, due to circumstances that Joseph chooses not to dwell on, he was forced to move into his aunt’s basement in Whitesboro, N.Y. This meant changing school districts. Despite the life-altering change, Joseph continued to excel in athletics and began to attract the attention of colleges.
He played football and competed on the track and field team in high school. He holds the school record in discus at both Whitesboro and Clinton high schools, was named track team’s MVP as a senior and placed seventh in the hammer throw at the 2010 USATF Junior National Championships.
It was through his achievements that Joseph came to know Richard Hunt, Clinton High School principal. When Hunt first came to meet Joseph and his family, he noticed Joseph was living in the basement. The principal proceeded to buy his newest student a dehumidifier to make the difficult living situation a little easier.
“When he bought me the dehumidifier it showed me that he was not just the average principal,” says Joseph. “He took a special interest in the students who were disadvantaged. Ever since then he has been a supporting figure in my life and I would not be at Bucknell without his help.”
Finally, after seemingly ignoring him for so long, good fortune had finally found Joseph.