If anyone ever says you can’t overcome the odds, then you only need to tell them about Fred Dukes. Dukes is one of the seniors graduating this year from Booker T. Washington High School, and he scored 24 on his ACT. He also held a 3.0 grade point average, even though he was homeless and has no family support.
“I am very proud I stuck with it and didn’t give up,” said Dukes.
Dukes’ stepmother moved back to South Carolina for a job, but he stayed behind in Atlanta. This meant that he had to stay with his friends and find a way to get what he needed in order to survive.
“Me and my friend Malcolm kind of compromised to where I could lay my head on his back porch if I needed to,” said Dukes.
Last Christmas, things really got tough for Dukes. He ended up at a homeless shelter and lost all that he had.
“I got into an altercation with a couple other people that were staying here and they wanted to take my stuff, my belongings,” said Dukes.
“It’s a lot. It’s a lot for an adult, and then to see a child do this? Yes it’s a lot,” said Leyanna Lloyd, Dukes’ science teacher. “He would just tell me stuff and I would sit there with a straight face and then I would end up crying after he left because he has been through a lot, but he never said he was giving up, ever,” said Lloyd.
“Oh my God! I finally made it. My message to people is do not let your situation make you who you are. Like I said before, it is the decisions that you make that make you the person you are,” Dukes said.
Dukes is planning to attend Cocker College in South Carolina this fall. He plans to major in business.