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Lexington native, UK Alum Named “CNN Hero”

Photo by: Jenny Alvarez

Photo by: Jenny Alvarez

One Lexington native and University of Kentucky alumnus is receiving some well-deserved recognition: Jamyle Cannon has been named CNN Hero, which features “everyday people doing extraordinary things to change the world.”

Cannon’s heroic deeds were inspired by his own upbringing in Lexington, where he says he questioned his place in the word and struggled with anger issues. By the time he hit 12, Cannon was undergoing court-ordered anger management classes after he was arrested for fighting. His mom helped him throughout this time, while also raising his three siblings as a single parent.

“There were times when the lights would be turned off,” Jamyle Cannon recalled. “To think, we were so poor we don’t deserve water or electricity — that’s an experience that stands out about my childhood.”

Things changed for good when Cannon saw his mom walk across the stage and receive her diploma from UK. He was 14-years-old at the time.

When she graduated with a degree in social work, I watched our lives change almost immediately,” he continued. “I wanted to follow in her footsteps, and I wanted to continue that upward trajectory.”

He did.

In 2006, he enrolled at UK, declared social work as his major and started boxing competitively. By 2009, he was named National Collegiate Boxing Champion. In 2010, he had his own bachelor’s degree from the UK College of Social Work and was working for Teach for America. Two years later, he had a master’s degree in secondary education, and he moved to Chicago’s west side. He took his passion for boxing with him.

In Chicago, he opened his own boxing club. The club grew quickly and expanded into the nonprofit “The Bloc,” which uses boxing as a hook to get kids in the door and then provides them with tutoring and mentorship. The program is now available in five schools throughout Chicago. Over the past four years, Cannon and his program have helped more than 300 students. The group has also maintained a 100 percent high school graduation rate and a 100 percent college acceptance rate among the participants who apply.

“We are so very proud of Jamyle, the work that he has done and, perhaps most importantly, the lives that he has positively impacted,” Jay Miller, dean of the College of Social Work, said. “He is a testament to our college and the university. And I am thrilled that his impact has been honored in such a positive way.”

It’s this positive impact that qualified Cannon for the title of a “CNN Hero,” which has been spotlighting inspirational leaders throughout the entire world since 2007. Despite his many accomplishments, Cannon doesn’t necessarily view himself as a hero, saying he’s simply “doing his part.”

“Some say, ‘you can’t save them all.’ I don’t buy it. I think every kid is worthy.”

You can watch the feature story here:

For more on CNN’s Heroes, click here.

Article written by Maggie Davis

I love sports, podcasts, long walks on the beach and Twitter (@MaggieDavisKSR)

21 Comments for Lexington native, UK Alum Named “CNN Hero”



  1. nocode96
    9:32 pm February 5, 2020 Permalink

    Good for this kid. Taking a negative and turning it into a positive.



  2. satcheluk
    9:53 pm February 5, 2020 Permalink

    I boxed at UK and one of my degrees is in Social Work, but I must admit he has surpassed me in every other way.



  3. antiquefurnitureandmidgets
    10:34 pm February 5, 2020 Permalink

    Or we could just respect And appreciate what the kid has accomplished. But I suppose be a douchenozzle and wedge politics into a positive, feel good story is another way to go.



  4. CrystalBall
    11:25 pm February 5, 2020 Permalink

    Last month it was 7. Someone must have died.



  5. BluKudzu
    11:59 pm February 5, 2020 Permalink

    @UKfanman01, @Big Sexy, CrystalBall

    Good to see the conservative christian right jumping in with their typical redneck, uninformed and zero class comments.

    The most judgemental people I have ever known hide behind tha facade of Christianity, further, the most imbecilic, hypocritical people on earth are right wing zealots.

    Instead of being proud of an achievement, you bring nothing but vile and hate.

    Paranoid much?



    • CrystalBall
      12:08 am February 6, 2020 Permalink

      Whut. Don’t know what you are talking about.



    • Big Sexy
      10:32 am February 6, 2020 Permalink

      I make a joke about the declining viewership of CNN and I’m “judgemental”? Then I read how you label me. Hypocrite much? I’m sorry I took a shot at your religious institution.



  6. Jonathan40330
    1:16 am February 6, 2020 Permalink

    You just knew someone would see CNN Hero and insert stupidity into a feel good story of a young man striving to better himself and impact those around him in a positive manner.



    • KYCat4EVER
      1:33 am February 6, 2020 Permalink

      This isn’t about anyone on here posting or about a news network.

      Congratulations Mr Cannon! You represented our university, our state, and your character and class for all to see.

      Most of all, you went in to Chicago and changed the lives of young people needing your guidance. God Bless you !

      GO BIG BLUE!



    • Rob
      2:44 am February 6, 2020 Permalink

      Well said KYCat. We definitely need more people like Jamyle and the media needs to show more stories like this one.



  7. Rob
    2:36 am February 6, 2020 Permalink

    Ok. I am a Republican and I am also a devout Christian. First, the vile and the hate comes from BOTH sides. Although I have my views on many political and religious issues I will not force my views down someone’s throat. I will not judge or hate or talk down to anyone just because we have a difference of opinions and beliefs. I LOVED this article! Jamyle IS a hero! I could care less what channel this video came from! Who cares! In a world today which is full of hate, anger, bitterness, jealousy, racism and negativity this was something positive! We need more people like Jamyle! Just like yesterday at the SOTUA when OUR President honored those individuals. There were those who didn’t have the decency to stand and applaud just because of their hatred towards the President. Is that the Christian thing to do? I think not. It’s time we put our differences aside for sake of our country and for the sake of our children and grandchildren. They are the future of this country. Jamyle is doing his part. So, thanks for this article Maggie. My rant is over. You may go about your business now. Have a nice day.



    • Real Christians Don't Watch Fox's Opinion Shows.
      9:18 am February 6, 2020 Permalink

      Spartan fan so winning today means backsliding hypocrite at least that’s what we called them in my youth. By the way “winning” was termed by a liberal druggy with an incurable disease so it’s very fitting for Trumpettes.



    • Real Christians Don't Watch Fox's Opinion Shows.
      9:20 am February 6, 2020 Permalink

      Responded to the wrong post.



    • RealCatsFan
      11:12 am February 6, 2020 Permalink

      Very well said, Rob. I lean slightly left of center regarding social issues and slightly right of center fiscally, so I TRY to see the good things that both camps bring to the table. Sadly, that has been lost by most of our elected officials. I pray that somehow our nation finds a way to unite again without being prompted by another tragedy to make it happen.



  8. sprtphan
    7:56 am February 6, 2020 Permalink

    Get over yourself. Geeze.



    • sprtphan
      8:41 am February 6, 2020 Permalink

      PS: No I’m not tired of winning yet.



  9. runningunnin.454
    9:13 am February 6, 2020 Permalink

    Great story about a guy making a difference in kids’ lives. I’m a fan; and that’s a great life lesson…keep your hands up.



  10. Real Christians Don't Watch Fox's Opinion Shows.
    9:19 am February 6, 2020 Permalink

    Sprtphan so winning is what being a bad Christian is called these days. In my youth we called them hypocrites and back sliders. By the way that term “winning” was started by a drug addict with aids so it is fitting for fake Christians who are addicted to Trump with spiritual death in their future.



  11. Real Christians Don't Watch Fox's Opinion Shows.
    9:22 am February 6, 2020 Permalink

    Oh and what have you won exactly? Unless your a prejudice idiot or a satan worshiper getting the false prophet as your President isn’t a good thing.



    • sprtphan
      12:21 pm February 6, 2020 Permalink

      You come across so smart to be so dumb.



  12. Real Christians Don't Watch Fox's Opinion Shows.
    12:26 pm February 6, 2020 Permalink

    The moderators apparently want to squash the religious freedoms of Christians who don’t support Trump.