Here’s an update on some of the young people you might have met in my book Breaking the
Cycle: How Schools Can Overcome Urban Challenges:
Remember Daron, the young man who, if he would come to American University, was offered
an internship by the CNN anchor he met at a restaurant? He did, and they did, but Daron opted
for a better-paying part-time job. He’s now in his third year at the university, where he has
taken a leadership position in many organizations. He has enough credits to graduate this year
but plans to take a fourth year, then take some time off. After that he plans to go to graduate
school, possibly law school, as his professors urge him to do.
His friend Alonzo, who had been left to fend for himself at the age of 12, did graduate from
college in three years. You may recall that he was dissatisfied with the way math is taught in
this country. Now he’s working on a Ph.D. in—you guessed it—math education, at the
University of Michigan.
Shawna, the beautiful young daughter of a crack addict, who once thought that “maybe it’s just
not meant for girls like me to go to college,” is also into education. She’s a junior at Wright
State University and plans to become a teacher.
Tawana, whose alcoholic father stole from her and was abusive in other ways, is at a “Seven
Sisters” school, one of the exclusive formerly all-female colleges on the east coast. She’s doing
well there, too.
So many of the former DECA students plan to come back to our area and share the benefits of
their education. In fact, many come back now to talk to students at DECA and other schools to
encourage them to go to college.