Watch CBSN Live

From Humble Beginning To Harvard

Instead of finding stories as most reporters do, CBS News Correspondent Steve Hartman uses a highly sophisticated piece of newsgathering equipment: a dart. He asks a person on the street to throw a dart at a map to help him choose where he'll go next in search of a story. Once there, he picks a subject at random from the phone book. The premise is that "everybody has a story." This time he travels to Miami, Fla.

Glenn Kinen and his best friend Adam like to fish off the boat they bought at Wal-Mart. They're usually the only ones out on the water. But even when he's not alone on a lake, Kinen stands out from the crowd.

Kinen was born and raised in a part of Miami called Carol City. "It sounds lovely. It sounds like one of the places Judy Garland would live in one of her movies," notes Kinen.

But it is not, he adds.

His father, Rocky, is a construction worker from Argentina. His mom, Ida, is an office clerk from Cuba. His parents have very little formal education. This makes the next twist in Kinen's story stand out even more.

Kinen became a valedictorian. He got the highest score at his school on the S.A.T exam ever. And he is now on his way back to college - at Harvard University.

"When I'm 75 and old and mumbling to myself, he's probably one of the three students I'm going to remember. I don't think I'll ever be able to forget this kid," says Kinen's teacher.

"He's scary smart, almost intimidating," he adds.

"I got my first taste of how much it means to my father when he went to this dinner for all the foremen at his construction company, and all the people were congratulating him on his son getting into Harvard," Kinen says.

"My father spent the whole day bragging to his co-workers while he should have been working," he adds.

What he may never fully realize is that his success was not the result of 18 years of hard work but of 50.

Rocky Kinen had to quit school in the seventh grade to work on the family farm. Harvard was never his destiny.

"I guess he did what I couldn't," Rocky Kinen says.

Then just a few months after Glenn Kinen became the first boy in his high school to ever get into Harvard, his best friend since seventh grade, Adam, became the second.

Says Adam: "When I was in sixth grade, I remember throwing erasers at the teachers and getting suspended and stuff like that."

"I just started to see a different side of life. And I think it was partly his influence. Absolutely, yes," he adds.

And that's the story from a lonely lake, far away from the rest of the crowd.

Glenn Kinen throws he dart to guide next week's journey. "Maricopa County, Ariz., near Phoenix" he says.

©1999 CBS Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue