MINNEAPOLIS — FreShawn Collins shines on the basketball court at North Community High School.

But the 19-year-old has had some dark days. When he was 5 years old, his mom was shot and killed. But he proves hard work and determination pays off. He was recently awarded the CDF Beat the Odds program scholarship. It honors outstanding high schools students who have overcome tremendous adversity, demonstrated academic excellence and given back to their communities.

When his mother was killed, Collins said his grandmother stepped up to the plate to raise him, his twin brother and siblings. He still remembers the day he learned about his mom, Tina.

“I remember my dad coming in the house and saying ‘I love you’ with tears coming down his eyes,” Collins said. “She was shot multiple times. She was going to buy our Easter outfits. It is very painful and it still sticks with me.”

Now, he hopes to make his mom and his grandmother proud. Collins said his grandmother encouraged him for 13 years to pursue a higher education. The scholarship will help.

“It is a $5,000 scholarship to attend any college. The college that I would love to attend is St. Thomas University,” he said.

Collins, who is on the A honor roll, said his grandmother is the reason he wears Number 11. His grandmother died 11 days after his 18th birthday.

“She fought cancer so many times. For her to get stage three cancer. It was heartbreaking,” he said. “I was leaving practices early to go to the hospital to make sure she was okay. Her final words to me was 'I love you.'”

Now, he wears a necklace holding a picture of his grandmother and mom.

“They are the closest to my heart,” he said. “I know they are still with me all the time. They would be very proud of me and how I overcame all of my obstacles and challenges chasing my dreams and reaching my goals.”

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