The first thing you notice about him is the tie. Red. Red tie. White shirt, black cardigan sweater. It’s almost like a uniform. Only it isn’t. Its not part of the school dress code either. The only kids wearing ties at Orange high school are the ones on athletic teams and then only in season and on game days. And Isaiah. So I asked him about it. “ I’m dressed for success” he replied matter of factly. I asked him to describe himself in five words or less. “ Calm. Determined. Proud. Strong and Caring. So I use all my power to help others”. That is Isaiah now. It wasn’t always so.
“Basically I was a loser. I had bad grades, wound up staying back my freshman year. I ran away a couple of times. I was like a villain in a cartoon, it was disgusting man.”
“ One time I got in a fight here. I came in and a kid said to me “ your disgusting” and he was probably telling the truth to be honest. I probably didn’t even take a shower that day .I don’t think I went home that day. I know I didn’t go to class. I just walked the hall. It’s amazing how you can do that, just walk the halls all day”.
“ My mother kicked me out. My father? He barely wanted to talk to me anymore”
“Somehow through all this I became powerful. I studied hard, tried to be a better person. Tried to evolve into like a superhero. An intelligent young man. Help out with my family. My grandmother, I go to church with her every single Sunday”.
“ Yeah man I just wanted to make a huge turn around show everybody what I could do. So now I’m gonna use all my gifts and intelligence to better myself and help everyone who has helped me”
I asked him about Family Connections and The Space and the role they’ve played in his evolution. “The Space? I love it. Mr. Blanco he helped me a lot. When I’m with him I feel a deep connection. I feel like when he closes the door it’s peaceful. I can tell him anything”. “ Its wonderful, they make kids feel like they belong. Its good for all types of kids. There are students here who have children, who have babies already. They offer support for them. And (highschool) seniors? They offer support to them. When you graduate it’s a big step. I’m even, I’m still scared cause its crazy out there. I see the news everyday”.
Towards the end of our conversation Isaiah looked at me "I’m ready to spread my wings man…hopefully. " "Hopefully they don’t die on me now" He chuckled softly and added "Hopefully I can fly”…. Like a superhero I thought.