Part 7: Koolaid’s Final Path to Graduate

Koolaid receiving his diploma

Koolaid receiving his diploma

Life has a funny way of changing our plans. Looking back at our five years together as teacher and student, neither of us can imagine life without the other. Koolaid taught me how love and understanding can truly impact the life of another. To see him transform over time from being this “hard core” kid to being a soft hearted young man was remarkable. There are so many moments interwoven within this story that will never be told, but they were moments that were a part of his journey …our journey.

By January, Koolaid was dating a young lady, who would go on to become his wife. Yes, he is married now. Normally, adults frown upon young love but this was different. This was a nice girl who cared about him just as much. They were having a baby and priorities for him changed again. College became a distant dream and work was his reality. I’ve heard many high school teachers talk about preparing kids for college. The truth is that not all kids go to college and not all of them want to. Over the years, I learned that my job was to go beyond just teaching math but preparing kids for life and all of its changes.

Luckily our school had a horizons program, for students who needed a more flexible schedule. In that program, Koolaid could go to school for a minimim of four hours a day and work full time. He wanted to go but then he didn’t. We talked about it and I told him that if he was choosing to stay because of me, that was not the reason. I would always be here…no matter what and would support him. He needed to go so that he could do what he needed to do on his journey to become a man.

Koolaid left our school building and finished his education through Horizons. It was the best possible decision that he could’ve made.

Graduation night was the most proud moment that I’ve had in my entire career. As I watched this young man walk across that stage, the years of tears, tough love, ups, downs and triumphs came back just as quick as he walked away. Teaching him gave me purpose beyond what any textbook could’ve prepared me for.

As cliche as it sounds, love is the uniter of us all.  Never underestimate the power of what love can do. This young man was written off before he could even step foot in the halls of high school. I would never allow that to happen again.

Where he is now…

edgar2Edgar A. is a full time father to an amazing little boy. He’s a devoted husband who works full time to support his family. He lives a life free of drugs, gangs and any influence that could negatively impact his life. In conversation the other day, I reminded him that his son will not have the same story that he did. His response to me wrapped our entire story in a way that only he could. He said…

“My son won’t have my story…I realize how important school is and I will be here to help my son get through it.”

I can’t wait to watch as the rest of his journey unfolds.

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