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Oscar winner returns to teacher high school class, inspires students

Kevin Willmott arrives at the premiere of "BlacKkKlansman" on Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2018, at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Lawrence, KS (KCTV) — Professor Willmott’s award is proof to his students that with hard work anything is possible.

The students who filled the seats Tuesday were excited, inspired, and moved by the Kansas boy who remained humble and made believers out of all of us.

It’s Oscar winner and professor Kevin Willmott’s first lesson to his class after a two-week hiatus.

KU senior and future filmmaker, Jacob Sandgren, said he’s inspired by the Academy Award winner.

“A lot of stuff you hear, especially in film, is moving out to L.A. again, that’s something that Kevin never did,” Sandgren said.

Willmott grew up in Junction City, Kansas about two hours west of Kansas City. He now teaches film and media students at KU.

“Basically, he conveyed to us that it’s all about hard work,” Sandgren voiced.

He returned to much fanfare with the Oscar trophy in hand.

Students couldn’t wait to snap a pic.

“It’s way heavier than I was expecting when I grabbed it,” said Alberto Reyes, a Junior at KU.

He sees himself in Willmott’s shoes one day.

“He’s done movies that he’s wanted to do as a person of color. Movies that when he first started to get into the industry he wasn’t able to make. He says that finally things are starting to change now. So, it’s a very positive thing for me to look at,” Reyes said.

“It’s really incredible you go to the University of Kansas and your professor wins an Oscar,” Brooke Ambrosio, who is a senior, voiced. “He didn’t start knowing everybody. He made his way. He put in all that work and he didn’t give up.”

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