A North Philly program tries to bring troubled kids back from the brink.
He's hoping to earn his high school diploma from Daniel Boone next year, and wants to eventually open a business or get a solid job. He sings, and his ultimate dream is to get a recording contract.
The point is that he now wants to succeed. Legitimately.
Tragically, that's pretty much where Byron Story was when someone brutally robbed him of life.
He'd graduated from the Glen Mills School, a Delaware County reformatory he'd been placed in for drug possession and truancy from Northeast High School. He'd earned a partial scholarship from Glen Mills, and had been accepted to Peirce College, which he looked forward to attending.
Story-Jones regrets that Byron still lacked self-esteem, perhaps in part because he knew his resume betrayed his youthful troubles. She contends that schools such as Glen Mills do a poor job of helping students overcome that kind of obstacle.
"I remember taking him to a job interview at a supermarket," she says. "He wouldn't look [the interviewer] in the eye, and I told him, 'Look at the man. You're his equal.' I constantly tell these kids to not let anyone hold their pasts against them."
Alexander hears her. "That doesn't bother me at all," he says of the possibility that some prospective employer might judge him harshly. "As far as I'm concerned, I'm the same as anybody else filling out an application. I want to make it."
Frank Rubino (firstname.lastname@example.org) last wrote about a former prison inmate's crusade against solitary confinement.
First Person Arts Podcast: Proud Mom