Prince's Story



 I remember my mom telling me once that she got a call from school.


 I was like: “You did? I didn't do nothing. like I don't know why I got a call home.” 


And she's like: “No, no, it was good. It was good.”

School was never easy for Prince. He struggled from the get-go - found himself treading water, just able to stay afloat. “In middle school. I was getting in trouble a lot. And because of that, I was consistently getting calls home, I was getting returned [home].”

Like many students Prince found himself caught in a kind of feedback loop: continued struggles led to discouragement. Discouragement led to further struggles. “And honestly I'm surprised that I wasn't expelled.”
Teachers reached out to him. “Over time, a lot of the teachers kind of, like, wanted to talk to me and see what they could do to help me become better.”

Prince found JAG, impressed from the onset by the interview process, he was enrolled in the middle school variant of JAG - which meets after school and prepares students for the next four years of their life: high school. “And so one thing they offered to me was JAG. And because of jag I went through this interview process just instantly saw like, wow, like, this is, this is legit. This is something real - I was just so surprised by the interview process. That's an interview to get in [to JAG], that's a big deal you know.”


JAG for Prince was a sense of place, of seriousness. He found a program that was preparing him for life in ways that other classes weren’t covering. “Now, most things you kind of just got to like sign up and then you're in: so when I finally joined JAG it was kind of just a big life experience for me I was like, wait: so they're trying to get us ready for like our future.” JAG was more than just another class for Prince - it was a toolkit. “Like yeah, school you know it's teaching us things - it's teaching us how to do math or how to read or history but it's not necessarily teaching us career skills like how to go through an interview. And that's what JAG was providing me with.”

For the first time in school Prince felt a connection with his classwork. JAG was something he wanted to be part of. Something he felt was good for him. Because of his experiences with JAG he was learning how to be successful during the rest of his school day. “I knew that if I got in trouble I would no longer be a part of JAG. And I knew I needed it in my life...I was always just - I was trying to grow. I was trying to become a better person.”


Prince began JAG in middle school and is now on the pathway to graduating from West Point High School, in Avondale, AZ. The skills he learned in JAG’s middle school program allowed him to transition smoothly into high school, where he works with Mr. Ryan Klem, the JAG coordinator at West Point. Prince has gained the skills and tools to be confident in his life going forward. “And because of [JAG] I think whenever I leave high school I'll be ready for college - I'll be ready for the rest of my life.”

Prince and his JAG classmates run a podcast called The Battle of Unspoken Truths; an examination of societal issues. The description reads: “Welcome, join in while we talk about the real problems going on in the real world.” It can be found here. He is a junior at West Point High School, where he says that JAG has formed a family for him.

“You know what I think that's like one of the biggest things is feeling at home, not feeling like alone, you know.” This feeling of community and belonging has led Prince to become involved with JAG even further - moving forward to a position as an elected officer and preparing to participate in national conferences this winter, should the world continue.
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