The official news that "Bobby" has won the coveted four-year scholarship to that big university in this state has now spread through the school, so I think I can talk about it. Officials from the university came to the school with balloons and streamers to present the scholarship to him in the middle of his 5th period class. Bobby had tears in his eyes, as did his teachers.
It really hasn't sunk in for me yet. I can't believe this kid, who I first detailed in this entry, has acheived what he's achieved.
He's been so many people in the last four years - enigmatic and underachieving smart kid, an old soul, grieving younger brother, a drug dealer, a "youth offender" who has spent nights in jail, the wrestling team captain, an honor roll student - and through it all, he has often given me faith in the educational process, and, really, about how strength of character can carry a person through the roughest times. People can change, particularly young people, and I hope this is something I'll never forget.
He's gone through things that I, at the age of 28, have never had any sort of concept of. His older brother died in his arms when Bobby was 15, another victim of Baltimore's drug trade. He was raised by his great aunt, after his absent father, drug addict mother, and young grandmother all passed away. He almost fell into a life of crime, but, somehow, he didn't. Something clicked with him and he changed. He's been able to get through it all, to the point where he's now at the doorstep of a grandly successful future.
And I look at him now, and all I can hope for is that he manages to survive the last four months in this city, and gets out and makes a great life for himself. He has to get a 3.8 this semester for the scholarship to kick in, which shouldn't be a problem, and then he'll be off to College Park on July 15. I still can't quite believe it.
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