Students once at-risk honored for making life-changing "turnaround"

Students once at-risk honored for making life-changing "turnaround"
Published: Apr. 9, 2014 at 10:31 PM EDT
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BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Kids once at risk now awarded for making a complete turnaround.

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The kids prove there is no limit to how early someone can make a change in their lives.

"Well I was just always in a bad mood and I would just be mean to everybody," said 8th grader Gregoria Soto-Prieto.

Gregoria acted out in school after her father lost his battle to cancer.

"Every time I get a test, it would be bad," said Gregoria.

She says it took her while for a change to happen.

Gregoria said, "I remember my dad. He was like, you have to be good and get all of your good grades and I remembered and that's why I'm doing better now."

Listening to advice from a large support system landed Gregoria a Turnaround Achievement Award.

Berkeley Middle Principal Mike Wilkerson said, "Shows that they have support from their family and it shows they have great resolve and a great desire to be successful in life."

A lot of the students honored at the ceremony once faced issues that stemmed from learning challenges, parents passing away and a few kids were almost expelled.

Goose Creek High Assistant Principal Benjamin Gadsden said, "Just because you start out roughly, doesn't mean you're going to end roughly."

Gadsden has been mentoring Goose Creek High School senior Christopher Theriot for six years now.

Christopher said, "All the way through kindergarten I was a little bad kid always getting in trouble."

Gadsden says it wasn't an easy road.

"In middle school Chris went through a turbulent time and the young man was in my office a lot for discipline," said Gadsden.

Chris says he's grateful for the years of help.

"I want to thank my father and Mr. Gadsden as well. They believed in me when nobody else did. It wasn't for them two, I probably wouldn't be here right now," said Chris.

Chris' stepfather Jody Driggers supported him during the ceremony.

"It lets the kids know that they're not on their own and they have help and to keep striving and also teaches them to give back a little bit later," said Driggers.

Each school has its own way of mentoring and turning kids around. It's a goal of every school to work with families and figure out the best solution for each child.

In total 25 students were given a Turnaround Achievement Award.?

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