We begin our Person of the Week series featuring a student who has grown up on the east side of Detroit and has managed to maneuver away from crime to remain on a path of success.
His name is Travon Stearns, and with the strict guidance of a two-parent home he has managed to do what no other student in his high school has done in at least five years... maybe more.
Travon has moved around a lot in his young life, always attending Detroit public schools, always maintaining good grades despite the violence erupting in the city around him. His neighborhood has a well known reputation and it's not one to brag about. He learned about it doing a research paper for school.
Travon Stearns: "48205 the most dangerous zip code in the nation."
Carolyn Clifford: “Where did you hear that?
Travon Stearns: “Actually in an article online."
Carolyn Clifford: "And it described, your neighborhood, your Zip code, where your school is as the most dangerous, the most dangerous in the nation?”
Travon Stearns: "In the nation."
Travon says learning that made him feel depressed, getting recognized as the most dangerous area is nothing to be happy or proud of.
Just recently, Detroit Police Chief James Craig put out a call for action to stop the senseless bloodshed after several innocent children were gunned down in a hail of bullets meant for someone else. Travon was always lucky.
He says, all kids didn't have the upbringing that he had. He says many were not blessed to have two parents at home, instead a lot of kids were able to hang out when the street lights came on, and he had to go home and stay in the house.
Travon says all of the kids didn't have the upbringing like he did, they were not blessed with a two-parent home. A lot of kids were able to hang out when the street lights came on and he had to go home.
As a young child, Travon says he never had any problems in his neighborhood. Travon says he was never exposed to crime directly.
Travon is a student mentor in his school, it's called the Osborn Safety Station which allows students to have a safe haven from bullying or to seek guidance.
In the last five years, Travon is the only student from Osborn to not only get accepted, but to get a full ride scholarship to the University of Michigan Ann Arbor. Osborn High School is a United Way turnaround school.
He hopes to attend the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, but once he graduates he also has his sights on the political arena where he can use his young voice and leadership skills to make changes in his own Detroit community where the Zip code is considered the most dangerous in the nation.
Travon says he sees himself changing the city for the better and bringing a positive light to the city, and of course he plans to turn the Zip code around to one that residents of Detroit can be proud of once again.