Robert Turner is a prime example of how students can quickly grow and change if they are given the opportunity to succeed. Within the last year we have seen Robert evolve from a tough kid who was too cool for school, to one that truly cares about his education and will even flash his bright smile from time to time.
Robert lives with his supportive mother and twin sister just one block outside of Nickerson Gardens (he also has 4 older sisters no longer living at home). Prior to this year Robert attended Flournoy Elementary School, and it was clear that while he was certainly smart enough to achieve great things, he wasn’t being pushed in public school. Despite pleas from his teachers to attend a magnet school, Robert relented because he didn’t want to be labeled as a “nerd.”
Since attending St. Lawrence he has averaged a 2.93 GPA and has really come out of his shell. While it was a difficult transition early on, he quickly adjusted and learned how to conduct himself in a school that expects much more from their students.
Outside of academics, Robert is a truly gifted athlete. He quickly became one of the stars on St. Lawrence’s basketball and football teams. Through these activities he’s been given leadership roles and absolutely flourished in them.
Robert shows that the downward pressures of the neighborhood are all too real, however, he proves that they can be overcome. Most of these kids want to succeed but are trapped in a place, where for one reason or another, working toward their educational goals isn’t seen as a viable option. Through Operation Progress and the LAPD, we’re working to identify those kids who want more but aren’t in a position to reach it. As we’ve seen with scholars like Robert, this can be an incredibly effective solution to a much larger problem. Robert is active in Operation Progress. He attends all service trips and other events that we hold for our students. His commitment to the organization is evident, which speaks to the strong relationship and high level of trust that we have established.
“I would like to say to program made a big positive change in Robert’s life and mines. It let me know that there is positive programs out there for the kids.”
-Natasha Smith (Robert’s mother)