hat tip-W.E.E. See You

Youth’s passion for learning beats the odds
Atlantan succeeds while he overcomes family tragedy, other obstacles.
By Mark Davis

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The trophies are impossible to ignore. At least 37 fill the living room of the south Atlanta apartment Deonte Bridges shares with his mother. Thirty-six extol the teenager’s academic achievements at Booker T. Washington High School.
The 37th trophy? Bridges, 18, smiled. “Basketball,” he said. Turns out he played the sport in ninth grade but gave it up. The game got in the way of more important things.

Such is the focus of Deonte 
Kivon Bridges, a kid who still marvels at what he’s accomplished at such long odds.

Bridges is Washington High’s first black male valedictorian in more than a decade, a rising freshman at UGA, the winner of scholarships totaling more than $1 million.

And this: A YouTube posting of his graduation speech, nearly five minutes long, has been viewed more than 80,000 times. He has nearly 1,600 Facebook friends who live all over the world.

Bridges reset the academic bar at Washington, despite his mother’s cancer, his brother’s death, an armed hold-up and peer pressure to put down his books and embrace the street life.

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