"I would have to say that one of my life's heroes, someone that stepped in to help me make some good decisions, was one of my middle school teachers. I grew up in Compton, which doesn't have the greatest reputation for being a great area. I was applying to a magnet high school. Not only did you have to apply but there was an interview process to get in. This teacher really encouraged me to go through the process. I was a kid. I wanted to stay in Compton, all my friends were there, and I wanted to go to high school with them. But she encouraged me to go through the process and get the work done to see what happens.
"She said it would be a better opportunity for me to go to college later. That changed my life completely. I don't know what I would have been like if I had stayed at school in Compton. She really pushed me and encouraged me to always do more than the level I was at, to always keep improving. I don't know if I would have even gone to college or at least it would have taken a lot longer to get through. She was a great influence on me."