Back in the day when I was a good blogger, I wrote about a young man named "Bobby," my most memorable student ever. I taught this enigmatic young man as a 9th grader way back in 2003, then as a 11th grader in 2005. I also went on several Outward Bound trips with him, and we became close. I became familiar with his tragic story -- no father, a mother dead to drug addiction, an older brother shot on the streets in a drug-related murder, the responsibility of keeping the lights on at his house through his own burgeoning drug trade -- all the while trying to be a student and athlete in high school. I became so close with Robert that when he was struggling his senior year with homelessness, he stayed in my house in his waning high school days as he awaiting his matriculation into the University of Maryland (on an academic scholarship).
Robert, now 23 years old and a father, has written a moving and raw memoir (Fertile Concrete) about his experiences growing up in Baltimore and dealing with the issues described above. The book is a great read, not only to read about the experiences of this tough young man who has been through more than most people three time his age, but also as a window into the world of poverty and drugs that so many of our students have to live in. Ultimately, though, it's a story of redemption and hope, which makes me all the more happy.
(I also have a real nice section in the Acknowledgements.)
Buy the book here: http://www.thefcmovement.com/
You can hear Rob talk about his book on the 11/11 & 11/12 show of "The Signal" on WYPR here: http://www.wypr.org/stationprogram/signal
(I'm so proud.)
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