By Zach Ben-Amots
The future makes Kevin Duong, 22, hopeful and worried at the same time.
“After I get out of school, it’s a new life. From when you’re little, you’ve always been going to school. And now, I’m gonna graduate in a couple of years,” Duong said. “It’s a new life. Something to look forward to. Everything’s different. Something I haven’t done in the past 22 years, you know?”
Duong has been living in Mission Hill for four years and thinks of it as a student community. He does enjoy living in a neighborhood with great restaurants, and his college is a short walk away. But he’d prefer to live in other parts of the city.
“It’s a place to live. You’ve got nowhere else to go,” Duong said. “You’re kind of forced to pay, you know, ridiculous amounts of money so you can go to school.”
Most of the buildings on Tremont Street – which runs directly through Mission Hill – are narrow stacks of small business and apartment units. All along Tremont Street, two fixtures dominate the skyline: the towering spires of a Catholic church that sits atop the hill and banners that honor long-time local residents.
Just across the street from Duong, one banner showcased Andres Cruz, the owner of the 2017 Mission Hill Main Streets Business of the Year: AC Hardware. Cruz was killed during an armed robbery of his store on July 18, 2017. Cruz was a community leader for three decades, and his death was a tragic shock for the entirety of Mission Hill.
Duong attends Massachusetts College of Pharmaceutical and Health Sciences University, or as he calls it, “MCP.” Duong is working to become a pharmacist. He grew up in Worcester and hopes to stay in the region after graduating.
Other than his personal goals, though, Duong feels unsettled about the future of the country.
“Politics, the economy- you know, all of that stuff. You never know what’s going on,” Duong said. “You just hope for the best.”