Age 18.
Graduate of Fletcher High School. Attending University of West Florida.

A happy-go-lucky child, Devonte was in some ways sheltered from the wider world. It wasn’t until middle school that he realized exactly why his father was incarcerated, and until high school, he didn’t know very many other students who got in trouble. But Devonte was satisfied with merely passing his classes. After he started going to the Boys and Girls Club, he realized he needed higher grades to attend college.

“The Boys and Girls Club changed my life,” Devonte said. “It made me want to be better with grades. Before, it was just, you want to pass.”

Although C’s had been his standard in middle school, in high school Devonte learned he needed to do better to go to college. He started getting A’s and B’s, and in 2010 was named Youth of the Year in Duval County through the Boys and Girls Club.

“That really got me motivated even more,” he said.

He got involved in community service through the Boys and Girls Club and began to see how many people were supporting his success.

“At school, you can be judged so much, just going down the hallway,” he said. “Here, everyone is like family.”

Today, Devonte doesn’t use his father’s long-term incarceration for drug trafficking as an excuse. Instead, it motivates him to choose a clean life and take seriously his role as “man of the house.”

In his senior year, Devonte’s hard work paid off with an admission to the University of West Florida. He plans to major in criminal justice and aspires to become an attorney.