My name is Khalil Bridges, and I'm a senior at Renaissance Academy High School. I have been attending Renaissance since midway through my freshman year. Before I came to Renaissance, I attended Reginald F. Lewis and Douglass, both big schools. I wasn't a fan of going to school and was failing my classes as a result. There were too many things going on to concentrate in school.
When I came to Renaissance, the staff really made an effort to get to know me. I didn't have to ask. I started coming to school and they helped me with all sorts of things like washing my clothes, transportation and applying to jobs. I became a totally different person than I was freshman year.
I'm involved in the Seeds of Promise program, and I have a mentor who works with me in school and out of school — he helps me with living condition problems and things that I have to have for school.
I have also had the opportunity to attend University of Baltimore this fall with a few other Renaissance students. We're working on individual projects about how to improve our city. The main topic is others' perception of the city. Going through this course, I've realized I have a choice in life, to go to school and make something of myself in life or to give up and go to the streets. It's easy to live poor but hard to keep money in your pocket. I'm changing to make a difference because others' expectations are for me to fail.
Renaissance keeps me so busy that I don't have time to screw up my life anymore. I'm happy that I found Renaissance, and I know that I will be able to graduate this year and go on to college. They even provided a YMCA membership for me, and other peers at my school.
Khalil Bridges, Baltimore