High school senior Keegan walked into the JAG-K room this year 70 pounds lighter and solid muscle. His walk was confident. His smile was proud. Keegan’s grades were a steady mix of C’s and D’s prior to joining JAG-K. Today he works hard and maintains A’s and B’s.

For most of Keegan’s educational life, he said he felt “ignored and unnoticed for whatever reason.” He even felt that most adults, including teachers, had given up on him. When I interviewed him for this article he said, “I believe that JAG-K has helped me to not give up on myself when times get hard. Like when I believed that I was going to have to go to summer school every year to graduate and not be able to play football.” I am so proud of what this young man is becoming — look at him — he is playing football and will graduate in May 2021.

Keegan has really benefited from the many guest speakers we have brought in. One in particular made a big impact on him. Keegan could relate to Tre Giles. Tre talked of his growing up in a tough environment, even sharing his story of abuse. Tre saw football as his way out of a toxic environment. A football scholarship brought him to FHSU. That day, Keegan saw someone who had overcome barriers and was standing in our classroom telling his story of success. “I can do that too,” Keegan thought. Determined, he became emboldened to not give up.

Keegan is excited about the future, “I enjoy cooking and coming up with my own ideas. I also feel I can take that experience further by owning my own chain of restaurants. That is why I’m going into business.” He loves football and hopes to continue post-high school. He is interested in going to college pursuing the culinary arts and majoring in business.

Submitted by Johnny Matlock, Career Specialist, Hays High School