Serving others through lunch clean-up
On the first day of school at Terry W. Kitchen Central Junior High School in Cape Girardeau, eighth grader Goliath Morris-Young sought out an adult in the cafeteria and asked for cleaning materials to wipe down the tables after the students finished eating lunch. Staying inside during recess to voluntarily clean the space around him is an act of service he continued throughout the first week of school and that he continues to do spontaneously when he is able.
A new student at his school this year, Goliath says for him, this doesn’t seem out of the ordinary.
“It was more of like an instinct thing,” he says. “My household taught me to step up, and … you shouldn’t have to beg someone or ask someone to help; instead, it should just come out naturally.”
Goliath is a middle child with five siblings who are “all very different,” which he says has given him the ability to relate to multiple personality types and to know how to talk with people. He admires his parents’ work ethics and the ways they provide for their family, ensuring he and his siblings are happy. He looks up to his dad especially, he says, because he is “a very good role model for my family” who teaches Goliath and his siblings what they need to know and be prepared for.
Goliath says faith is an important foundation for his family, and it especially helped them when their house burned in 2022, which brought about their move to Cape Girardeau.
“I pray about all of the things that are out of my control. ‘Cause you can’t change things in the past, you can’t change things in the future, but you can always be prepared, and you can stay ready,” Goliath says. “My family is religious, so God is my No. 1. I always look to him for answers and seek him.”
Both in and out of school, Goliath is passionate about playing basketball. He says it’s his favorite sport, and he loves “everything” about it, from the sound of sneakers squeaking on the gym floor to the sound of the ball going through the net and the “all-time high” feeling he gets from playing the sport. He plays football and soccer to stay in shape for basketball. His goal is to make the varsity basketball team as a freshman in high school, a step towards playing for Overtime Elite (OTE), a professional basketball league for 16- to 20-year-olds based in Atlanta.
In addition to sports, Goliath enjoys singing and is currently a member of MO All-State Choir, SEMO All-District Choir and his school choir.
Goliath says he wants adults to know there are many young people his age who are like him and willing to serve others.
“My main motivation is to bring the happiness and try to change people’s perspective and views on how other people are,” Goliath says.