Political education

Posted on October 30, 2022

Tomas Becnel

KC Crusoe of Montgomery is president of the Freshman Council at the University of South Alabama.

#FreshmanFocus is a series of stories about incoming students at the University of South Alabama.

In the ninth grade, KC Crusoe chose a career in politics.

“In history class, my teacher Tiwania Brown had a lesson on local government, learning who your city council representative is and stuff like that. She taught us that it’s not just about who gets elected governor or president. Sometimes it’s the smaller people who make the biggest decisions.”

The path to public service seemed to make sense for Crusoe, who is now president of the Freshman Council at the University of South Alabama.

At Park Crossing High School in Montgomery, Alabama, he got good grades and belonged to half a dozen clubs. Everyone knew his name. He focused on interviews with students, staff and faculty.

“You know, teachers are people too,” he said. “They need someone to talk to, someone to listen to. You know, ‘How was your weekend?’ People need it.”

His mother, Katrina Atkins, works for the School Superintendents of Alabama, a nonprofit organization in Montgomery. She and his younger sister now live in Wetumpka, north of the capital.

After graduation, Crusoe had scholarship offers from several colleges, but found himself drawn to the University of South Alabama.

“I always liked the South,” he said. “I don’t know why, but I always knew. Maybe it’s Mobil. I went to USA Day and everyone was so nice, everyone wanted to talk. When I came here, I found my people. I’m from the South.”

You arrived 7 minutes early for this interview. Is this typical?

“I’m not late.” I’m actually late because I’m usually 15 minutes early. I think if you get to places early that’s when you meet a real person because they’re not in pro mode yet. So I got to know a lot of people by being early.”

What is your class schedule?

“I have a dream schedule – all my classes are from 8 to 11, so I have the rest of the day free for organizations and meetings. I’m a morning person. I go to the Rec Center at 5:30 in the morning and then come back and get ready for class. I have to teach math and science, but history and English are pretty easy for me.

“I was always taught to use proper grammar. I even write full sentences with punctuation. People ask me, ‘Why do you write news like you write a newspaper?'”

Tell me about your name. KC is worth nothing, like KC?

“My first name is Kistrall, but no one can pronounce it, so I go by KC. It’s just easier. When I go into politics, it will be KC Crusoe.’

When do you enter politics? Is this a sure thing?

“Yes. I want to become the first black US senator from the state of Alabama. Unless someone beats me to it. We’ll see.”

Who are your political favorites or role models?

“Corey Booker from New Jersey. He is one. I met him on this spring break trip with a group called the Dream Initiative. Amazing guy. You know how people are never the same as they seem online or on TV? Well, it’s the same person.

“And Raphael Warnock from Georgia. He is a senator who is also a pastor.

Do you have a church background?

“I was raised in the church. My grandfather is a pastor. He lives in a small town called Minter, south of Selma.

Growing up, were you a sports kid, a music kid or what?

I was definitely an academic kid. I sang at school and in the church choir. KC can sing.”

Students can be intimidated by public speaking, but you seem to enjoy it.

“I’ve always been comfortable speaking in front of people. Even in elementary school I did little programs. And I spoke in church. I don’t know about preaching, but I spoke in church. I’m used to crowds.”

What keeps you busy in college?

“I’m in the Student Government Association and RANSOM, the Ministry of Radical Athletes and Student Oasis.” I have two jobs in college. I am a technician for Jaguar Productions and South Guide. I like talking to people. Having a freshman on the tour can mean something to the students who visit the South.”


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