Philly man returns to the classroom after overcoming adversity

PHL17 Morning News
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There`s a very special person working with the kids at Mary Mcleod Bethune Elementary School.

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Quamiir Trice, 23, has been working as an assistant program coordinator since the beginning of the school year, while he works toward becoming a full-time teacher.

He teaches and meets with parents and community members, but at one point the classroom was the last place he wanted to be.

"I never had an easy life," he said.

Trice says he dealt with problems at home which led to problems in school.

"I was getting in trouble, getting in fights, which led to me getting suspended," he said.

He was arrested for selling drugs when he was in high school.

"I thought that I would never see 20 to 30 cops coming to my door and coming inside my house and pointing guns at everybody for a 15 year-old," he said. "I just never imagined that."

Trice was sent to a juvenile detention center and it was there when he made the decision to turn his life around.

"Once I had the opportunity to sit down and think about what I was doing, it kind of allows me to refocus on some of the things I wanted to do.'

He started attending class behind bars and earned his GED with honors.

Trice went on to attend the Community College of Philadelphia then Howard University, where he graduated with a bachelor`s degree in elementary education.

His remarkable story started to spread get attention from an unexpected place.

"The White House called me, I shared my story and they asked me to come to their town hall," he said.

Trice got to meet President Barack Obama at a town hall meeting in 2016.

"It was a clear eye opening that what I went through was a success story," said Trice.

While he was studying at Howard University, he started to think about his legacy and what he can pass on to future generations.

"I thought what was important to me was to get inside of a classroom and give them my story and give them my background and help them not go through the same situation I went through."

Now, he`s working toward becoming a full-time teacher, which is something that`s rare for African-American men.

According to the Philadelphia School District, only four percent of all Philadelphia teachers are black men.

Trice said he wants to show his students that no matter the circumstances, anyone can turn their life around for the better.

"They need nurturing, they need support and as parents and teachers and other supporters , community members, we cannot give up on students," he said.