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Jeffco Hero Awards: Kenneth Godoy

Jeffco Hero Awards: Kenneth Godoy
Posted on 11/30/2018
Wheat Ridge High School senior Kenneth Godoy works on an assignment in the school’s Gifted and Talented Center.Rap isn’t for everyone, but for Wheat Ridge High School senior Kenneth Godoy, rap is everything. You could say it’s what brought him back from the edge. He was just about ready to give up on school; he didn’t see the point. After all, he was already the man of the house.

“My father walked out early. I grew up with a single mother [and] I watched her go way below the poverty line and still be able to get me some shoes, still able to get a roof over my head,” explained Godoy. “My mom didn’t speak English, so instead of playing with my friends, I was translating. Instead of having fun and playing video games, I was translating for my mom. I was helping my mom, taking care of my little sister.”

His mom worked two jobs, often coming home at midnight.

“By then, I’d already fed the baby, put myself to bed, made sure everything was fine at home so that by the time my mom got home it wasn’t so hard for her,” said Godoy.

He didn’t think he had much of a future until a friend suggested he try out Wheat Ridge High School, and its renowned Gifted and Talented (GT) Center, where he could channel life’s pressures into music.

“It really just started because I really didn’t like to speak to people. I was really bad about opening up about my feelings. [It] goes back to how I was raised. I didn’t open up much, didn’t really like asking for advice, coming to people. After a while, I was bottling everything in, I needed a way out.”

“He joined the GT program right off the bat. That was a safe haven for him down there because they are allowed to do more independent projects, less traditional learning,” said counselor Heather Hanson.
The Center’s Lisa Lee, “Mama Lee” as she’s known to many, saw his talent and gave him the green light to create his own rap music video for credit.

“I don’t understand lyrics to rap music and it’s probably good that I don’t but I sure appreciate what I see in his soul and what I hear in his lyrics,” said Lee. “There are times I need him to perform at things and he’ll say ‘ok Mama Lee, what version?’ I’m like ‘keep it as close to the edge as you need to keep it authentically you, but also remember that I need my job!’”

Every rap artist needs a stage name. For Godoy, he decided on Anax, Greek for king.

“I just really liked how that flowed. That fit me better than Kenneth because I knew what it meant. That’s the image I want to have. It’s my passion,” he explained.

Godoy painted a square outside the GT Center to reflect that passion and symbolizes all that Kenneth has had to overcome. It reads, “Be your own hero, before being others.” He signed it “Anax.”

“There was a period of time where I remembered saying to him, ‘I’m really scared right now because I’m afraid you’re going to decide to quit school,’” said Lee.

“He got to the next step which was ‘what do I do about it now?’ Instead of just wallowing in it. He decided to continue on,” said Hanson.

“If we could bottle that grit, and refusal to give up and sell it, I would go broke buying it,” added Lee. “There’s just something about Ken that inspires.”

“I feel like I haven’t found my path exactly, but I’ve found who I am,” said Godoy.

See the JPS-TV version of this story here or below.

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