When you’re a crusading reporter chasing down big stories, the question is: will the big story include free hors d’oeuvres and drinks? Happily, the reception honoring Rory Hoskins for winning the John J. Waldron Scholarship not only had self-serve beer and wine, it offered stunning views of the city from the 66th floor of Willis Tower.

Rory received the scholarship for his community service and volunteerism in Forest Park and his good grades at Loyola University Law School. The scholarship was named in honor of John J. Waldron, a former partner at the law firm of Schiff Hardin, LLP, which hosted the event. Waldron was highly regarded for his ethics and his efforts to tap the talent of minority law students.

About an hour before the reception, I noticed the letters RSVP on my invitation. I made a last-minute call but was told the event was closed – even to crusading reporters.

Undeterred, I went to Willis Tower and found my name not on the list. A dean from the law school vouched for me. When we arrived upstairs, I noticed I was the only male not wearing a suit, or a pre-printed nametag. So I stuck my handwritten nametag on my polo shirt. I fit right in, though, because I met two other Forest Parkers wearing handwritten tags.

Besides friends from town, Rory had his family there. We were proud to hear the speeches and see him holding the award, an engraved glass clock. Plus, the scholarship money will be enough to cover Rory’s expenses for his second year of law school.

Rory went to law school to help him become a better commissioner. For example, when the commissioners were studying the YMCA proposal, Rory wished he had a better understanding of the complex legal issues.

He was also motivated to be a lawyer by his father Robert Hoskins, a pioneer African American attorney in his native Galveston. But first he had to attend the school of hard knocks. For Rory, this meant earning his 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. Rory used this “degree” to do some very hands-on teaching at a college in Austin.

A different kind of teaching position was offered to him at Loyola. He instructs a Masters level course in social work. During his life’s journey to becoming overqualified, Rory earned his MSW.

Money from teaching will come in handy because Rory and family made a sacrifice for him to attend law school. The Hoskins have had fewer pizza deliveries and Rory less social life since he started school. After he graduates, Rory hopes to serve as a lawyer in the area of consumer protection.

Personally, I’m grateful for Rory’s friendship and service to Forest Park. I’m also glad he won the scholarship – those mini-roast beef sandwiches were delectable.