I had two most extremes in high school. I um, believe it or not I was... I was like a rebel. I was a... freshman year I was bad guy. (chuckles) I um, I got to class really late, I slept in my classes, I mouthed off to the teachers. Almost any chance that I got, whenever I wasn't sleeping, mind you. But ironically enough, when I was awake (chuckles) I was in the top portion of my class. I remember one time I came to school about two... eh, it was probably two or three hours late. And I come in and one of my... one of my buddies, he uh, he said, "Oh here comes in the professor." I'm like, "the professor? What...what are you talkin' about?" So anyways I sit down and uh, I go to sleep. But before the bell rings I get up near the ending of the class and the teacher asks a question. And without even thinking I put my hand up and I answer the teacher. And the teacher knows that I was just sleeping and the whole class knows me. Notorious for either nodding off or sleeping. And I got it right. And it wasn't just that class. It was the remaining of the other classes that...that I would have to take that day that...that year.
The point is, I mean, although I was really bad in uh... high school. I mean I had... I had what it takes. I just didn't have the motivation or the guidance. I mean, aside from... aside from that outside of high school I really got...I got into some trouble because I was really depressed. I was really hurt that my mother and I you know, we were going through some of the stuff that we were going through. This was a year before I went into foster care. So what I did, um, I vandalized property, you know, I went around and I did bad stuff. I broke things, I took things, I did what I wanted. Just because I could do it. Because I knew that I could get away with it. Because I knew that despite being a thirteen or fourtee year old Latino with...looking however I looked I knew that I could talk my way out of pretty much any situation.
So when time came and principals called me to the office, or maybe I met a cop on the street and I was sayin' this or that. The time came when I was confronted and they expected to hear some slang come out of my mouth. What they heard was a sophisticated or an educated individual coming from the streets of poverty. Although I didn't look it with my baggy jeans and my ripped up shirt and big hoodies, (chuckles) I sounded educated. So that's all that mattered. Um, I'm trying to say is, although I look like a hoodlum, I didn't talk like a hoodlum. And by simply not talkin' like a hoodlum I was different.
Now, freshman year I got into a lot of trouble. And because I was really depressed and I was contemplating the meaning of life, "Why am I here? Why? Just why?" And I was have some really, really crazy thoughts about life, I decided that when my mother was going to move on the opposite end of town, I wouldn't fight to stay in the high school I was at my freshman year. I would willingly transfer to one of the worst school's in my city. The school that was currently associated with gangs, bomb threats, shoot outs. I would go to that school to change, to become a more positive person, to graduate. Graduate at this school with one of the lowest graduation rates in the city. And lo and behold I did it three years later. I became friends with administration. I became friends with amazing, amazing professionals and I graduated. Although my freshman year I... I failed a class or two and I didn't get good grades, I had honors by the time I hit my junior year. I had honors my senior year and I graduated top third in my class. That's a pretty big deal.