A family’s first-born child is often thrust into a leadership role, and that’s certainly true with Kevin Leal.
The first child of Oralia and Oscar Leal, Kevin has not only been a role model for his three younger brothers but has worked for his father’s construction company. He graduated in May from Heber Springs High School as co-salutatorian where he was a member of several clubs and sports teams, He served St. Albert Church as an altar server, lector, usher and retreat co-facilitator.
This fall, he is enrolled as a freshman in the University of Central Arkansas’ Schedler Honors College, with a goal of going to medical school.
Leal, 18, was born in Columbus, Ohio, but moved to Heber Springs with his family when he was a toddler. He followed in his parents’ footsteps and immediately got involved at St. Albert.
“I have a really strong faith and try to find ways to bring that to other people,” Leal said. “I am an altar server and have done a lot with the Spanish church — reading Scripture at Spanish Mass and helping organize Spanish retreats whenever possible. I felt like Spanish Mass and Spanish retreats were the best way I could help.”
He said he is focused on a career in medicine to help others.
“I want to be in a career where I can help my community,” he said. “As a surgeon, I can help people live better, longer lives. That really keeps me pushing forward. I’m really excited about that possibility.”
Leal said he wants to get involved with UCA’s Catholic campus ministry. He believes a greater focus on youth groups, activities and open discussions will help the Church retain its young people.
“That definitely played a major part in my development,” he said. “By addressing questions about faith in a more enjoyable and trusting environment, we can definitely help retain teens struggling with their faith.”
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