Friday, October 14, 2005

"On Their Own"

The Baltimore Sun has published a fascinating, four-part series called "On Their Own," which follows two Baltimore City high school students during their senior year. In addition to facing the challenges of attending an inner-city school, the two students are also homeless. The series is inspiring, heartbreaking, frustrating and hopeful. All of the problems that plague inner-city life are present - drugs, gangs, crime, absentee parents, etc. That these two young men could still get up and go to school every day without parents there to push or guide them is an inspiration. Neither of them would have made it without assistance from several very involved teachers as well as the principal.

As detailed and complete as the series is, it also raises more questions than it answers. What can be done to save Baltimore's schools (breaking up the overly large high schools was a step in the right direction)? What can be done for homeless teenagers who are in limbo between a foster-case system that caters to younger children and adult shelters that don't want to take in teenagers? What can be done to make students strive to envision a life beyond their own crime and drug-riddled streets, a vision that includes earning a high school diploma as the first step? It is well worth your time to read this very memorable series of articles. You won't soon forget the two young men profiled and many readers have already posted messages to the Sun's message board asking for updates on their progress.