Created: Fri, 09 May 2014 05:21:00 EST
Updated: Fri, 09 May 2014 11:52:28 EST
Jahmal Blash is now at a point in life where he can advise young men on what to expect in their first year of college. At one point, Blash didn't even expect to graduate high school.
"I used to give up and fall short for myself. I didn't even see a highschool diploma going after," Bland says. That is until he was handpicked, like these young men to be in this charecter and leadership course. Brian Howell started the course four years ago.
"I would ask these kids what are you gona do when you graduate ? They say, 'I dont know,' I was like wow, you gonna graduate next week."
Howell reaches out to students with different challenges. Like being removed from school, bad grades and shows how to overcome them.
The program helps the young men set and reach goals. Howell builds a bond with them that cant be broken.
"Coach Howell, he been there for me, I can tell you, he been there for me," said Blash.
Howell says although his program's priority is making sure that these kids graduate, its just as important for them to walk outside of these front doors as West Laurens high school and make sure they have promising futures ahead of them.
"College is not for everybody and so we have to realize, College may not be for you but you may pick up a trade," says Howell.
His former students come back often to talk with future graduating classes about what they can become
"Everyday you wake up, its a goal to be reached," Blash says.
In the chaotic years of high school, Howell makes sure to bring those in who may get lost in the crowd.
"I just feel good when i see the guys walk down the hallways and see me when they come back, I just smile," Howell says.