Growing up with 63 brothers and sisters can take a toll on a person, but one Ferris student has embraced it and has big plans for his future.
Ferris sophomore communications major Kitwana Clark, from Grand Rapids, is the youngest of 64 children, but plans to pursue his dreams of performing and live in California one day.
Clark’s father, whom he refers to as a sperm donor, has 64 children from nine different women. Clark’s father has never been a major part of his life.
For Clark, growing up in a family with that many people around has always been normal to him, although he has never lived with all 63 of his siblings at one time.
“If someone told me that wasn’t normal, I wouldn’t know anything different because that’s what I’ve been around my entire life,” Clark said.
Ferris sophomore business administration major Shakur Sanders has been friends with Clark since elementary school.
“He’s more like a brother to me,” Sanders said. “He’s real honest and straightforward. He speaks his mind and gives his best opinion on everything. He’s your true friend.”
Clark spoke highly of his mother and said he appreciates her raising him on her own as a single mother.
“I saw and faced a lot of adversity,” Clark said. “Growing up in a big family can be tough and it shaped me as a person. With so many people, I learned a lot of what not to do as a grown up, and I learned a lot of good things on what to do.”
Being a part of such a huge family has had a major impact on who he is today, Clark said.
Clark received a Ferris football scholarship and chose to attend Ferris because of its closeness to home. He is a running back on the football team, but the plays don’t stop there.
Off the field, dance is Clark’s passion. He said for him, football and dance go hand-in-hand.
“Being a dancer has really helped with football as far as flexibility, agility and the mentality to be able to learn,” Clark said. “Dancing goes along with being able to be coachable on the football field. But football has helped with dance too, as far as discipline and remembering plays.”
Through his love of dance, Clark has been able to use that passion to teach. He choreographs hip-hop performances for the Ferris dance team, which led him to get a job teaching kids dance at Rhythmic Skies Dance Studio.
“I love being able to really connect with the kids,” Clark said. “My favorite moment will be their recital and seeing all of the practices finally turned into something on stage.”
Clark has been dancing since the age of five.
“I always joke that I’ve been dancing since I came out of the womb,” Clark said.
His first performance was with his older sister, Waleeda Thomas’ dance team at her high school.
“We’re ten years apart, but he’s like my best friend,” Thomas said. “I’m just proud of where he’s going and how much he’s maturing.”
Whether you’re dancing at a club or dancing for fun, Clark said dancing is for everyone.
“I believe dance is something all people can do; dance is an expression of art,” Clark said. “No one can say that whatever you do with your body is not a dance move.”
Besides football and dance, Clark spends his free-time singing, volunteering, staying active and hanging out with friends and family.
“Honestly, I feel like I could have a chance at pro-league football, but I also think I have my biggest chance at performing,” Clark said. “Give me five years and I will be famous. No matter what though, I will be dancing.”
Clark has big dreams and sees himself raising a family and pursuing a career in Hollywood.
“I always joke saying the day I walk across the stage at graduation is the day I’m moving to Hollywood,” Clark said.
Ferris sophomore pre-dentistry major Antonio Agurs said Clark is one of the most outgoing people he knows and is confident that dancing will take him far.
“I’ve been friends with him for two years now,” Agurs said. “He’s just a great guy to be around. He always tells me and Shakur that everyone can dance if they just put a little time into it.”