Former gang member earns degree, among school’s first graduating class
Jamil Boldian, Krishaun Branch and Rayvaughn Hines are among Urban Prep High School’s first graduating class to receive college degrees.
The all-male charter school is housed in Chicago’s Englewood community.
Boldian headed to college four years ago, arriving in small-town Ohio with a one-way Megabus ticket and $17.91 to his name. Branch moved to Nashville to start his college career, far from the gangs that had surrounded him much of his life.
Hines settled on school in Virginia, determined to defy the fate of many young black men in his community who end up behind bars – or worse. […] Four years later, the three – Boldian, Branch and Hines – are among the first group of Urban Prep grads to earn their bachelor’s degrees. They overcame financial pressures, academic struggles, loneliness, self-doubt and more. But they made it.
[…] “I just feel like God’s got my back,” Krishaun declared in a wavering voice, after accepting his degree in psychology.
As a kid, he hung out with gangbangers. He quit Urban Prep rather than risk expulsion after getting into a fight. When a friend was killed, he begged to be readmitted and became a serious student.
Despite their obstacles, these young men let nothing stop them from succeeding. And they did it in four years. That’s two years ahead of the projected college graduation date for a young black man.
Congratulations to Krishaun, Rayvaughn and Jamil as they enter the next phase of their lives.
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