Jaden Bandy got a bit of a late start on his education and didn’t even learn to read until he was ten-years-old, but that didn’t stop him from catching up with his classmates and eventually becoming the valedictorian of his high school.
"I think I was 11 when I was like, yeah let's turn this thing around and let's get my life together. Everyone who offered help, I took it. They knew I was a little behind and I was at a point where I didn't really have anything to lose," Bandy said. "I was at my lowest point. It was only up from there so I practiced how to read.
For the youngsters who haven't learned how to read yet or just aren't thriving Jaden says; "It's easy to do the wrong thing. I think that they need just a little bit of guidance sometimes. They need a little bit of help to keep them on track. Some need a little more help than others. That's why I want to be a mentor."
At the graduation ceremony for Milwaukee Marshall High School, the star student had a message for his classmates about rising to the occasion. "No matter the circumstances that you face and the challenges you can win. We all go through challenges. The key is to look up and see the light and see that they can chase their dreams and desires".
His career counselor Patrice Beckley says that Jaden is amazing and just knowing him has been “an honor and a privilege.” Since he was 12, he’s wanted to be a robotics engineer and now he’s enrolled into Milwaukee School of Engineering in the fall on a full scholarship. He’ll also be be the first person in his family to go to college.