Kidus Lemma was born on January 17, 1999 in Fairfax, Virginia. He grew up in a large and loving family filled with grandparents, uncles and aunties who doted on him. Kidus grew up into a fine young man, guided by his parents, loved by his only sister, valuing community and honouring his Ethiopian and American heritage.

In addition to being a loving son and brother, Kidus stood out as a distinguished intellectual, musician and athlete throughout his life. As a young boy, Kidus attended Waples Mill Elementary School, where he shined as an accomplished student. Kidus consistently earned the President’s Award for Educational Excellence in primary school. He continued his academic excellence with honors in Rachel Carson Middle School and Oakton High School. He then continued his education at the University of Pittsburgh, where he studied interdisciplinary studies in humanity, morality and existence as he pursued an undergraduate degree in philosophy.

Like many philosophers, Kidus was an avid reader. He had a deep appreciation for the arts, especially the power and beauty of music. Kidus mastered the piano and the cello beautifully. He also valued comedy as an art — The Office was his all-time favorite comedy show which he turned to for wit and humor. He also enjoyed the visual and performing art, based on science fiction and fantasy, like the television show Game of Thrones, the Star Wars movies, as well as Japanese anime, like Tokyo Ghoul.

Athletics played an important role in Kidus’ life. He applied his scholastic discipline and passion for music and comedy toward his pursuit of sports. While still a student in Rachel Carson Middle School, Kidus earned his second-degree Black Belt in Taekwondo under the World Taekwondo Federation headquartered in Seoul, Korea. But, his greatest passion was soccer. He was a stellar soccer player, playing with several prestigious soccer teams in the Northern Virginia area. While he was in elementary school, he played for Chantilly, Braddock and McLean Soccer Clubs. As a middle school student, he played with McLean Soccer Academy and later on went on to play for Oakton High School.

Because of his superior soccer skill and his dedication, Kidus was selected to train with D.C. United Academy, and later Bethesda Soccer Academy. These are Major League Soccer Development programs that prepared talented youth to join collegiate, professional and national teams.

Soccer transcended the sports arena for Kidus and played a pivotal role in many of his relationships and memorable moments. Kidus developed bonds with his teammates and coaches. He watched European and Latin American soccer games with family and friends, and could always be found rooting for Chelsea, his favorite team. At age 11, Kidus celebrated the experience of a lifetime, when he attended the World Cup final game in South Africa. After his return from South Africa, he visited Ethiopia. During this time with his father, they gathered the neighborhood kids and established a soccer team in Addis, which they named “Manchester Addis.”

During this time, Kidus observed the immense talent of the players, but saw no system to support and train them to become the best players that they can be. He dreamed one day to come back and establish an educational and soccer academy to provide talented youth a chance for a better life through superior education and soccer coaching.

In his 19 years, Kidus achieved countless goals in different areas of his life — from academics to sports, and beyond. He approached life with an earnest desire to understand the purpose and interconnections that define the human experience. As a budding philosopher, Kidus was inspired by the work of Socrates and loved his famous quote “I know that I know nothing.” Kidus believed that the key to learning is to acknowledge that there is always more to learn. He loved to search for ways to understand the universe and how to make it better for humanity.

People who know Kidus well, describe him as an old soul. His gift for intuition, empathy and existential insight allowed him to recognize the injustice of this world. As people of faith, we know Kidus is in a better place where there is eternal peace and rest.

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