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April 19, 2004

Senior High's Harris ready to go places in the world

From: Mansfield News Journal, OH - Apr 19, 2004

By Lou Whitmire
News Journal

MANSFIELD -- Kareem Harris is ready to go to college.

The Mansfield Senior High School senior plans to major in education at Kent State University in the fall. The 18-year-old plans to be an American Sign Language teacher.

His mother, Janet Holbrook, is deaf.

"My mom inspired me. My grandfather is deaf, also," Harris said. He has taken sign language classes at Senior High.

Michelle Foss, Positive Opportunities Program instructor at Senior High, nominated Harris for the News Journal's Good Choices series, which features young people who make good decisions.

Harris has been a part of POP since seventh grade.

"It provides a good support system and there's always someone you can talk to," Harris said.

He plays a lot of sports and competed in the Mehock Relays.

He also really enjoys drama class and likes to swim. In summer, he is a lifeguard at the Mansfield Area Y.

He said English teacher Christine Hurst is the main reason he is college-bound.

"She's helped me fill out all my financial aid paperwork and encouraged me to go to college," he said.

Harris also is thankful for his aunt.

"Well, she's actually not related to me but Onnie Davis, that's who I live with, I say thank you for being supportive and giving me a place to stay," Harris said.

His mother lives in Hilliard, but Harris said he wanted to finish high school at Senior High and Davis took him in.

Foss said she can recall meeting Harris when he was a spindly seventh-grader with an attitude.

"Now he's a young man fulfilling his potential, going somewhere, going to do something with his life. I'm very proud and I'm probably more privileged knowing him than he is knowing me," Foss said.

Foss said she expects Harris to fulfill what God has in store. "And I think he will," she said.

Foss and Harris have known each other in the POP program for five years.

"We've always kept it real," she said, recalling days when she had to pull him along.

"He's awesome. Deep. Very intelligent. Very real," she said.

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