West End School works to help "at risk" youth defy stereotypes - WDRB 41 Louisville News

West End School works to help "at risk" youth defy stereotypes

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- It's a part of Louisville that has gripped the headlines for all the wrong reasons like murder, drugs, and arrests. Streets and sometimes even blocks away from some of those scenes in the West End, a place that looks to defy the stereotypes called the West End School. 

West End School is a place for pre-K through 1st grade boys to come during the day, and also a boarding school for young men from 6th to 8th grade. That's a group the school says is at a tipping point both socially and academically.

"In a boarding environment, you can create a culture and a set of expectations and values sometimes that are very different than the general population. Typically, these are neighborhood kids," Administrator, Robert Blair explained.

7th grader, Kenjii Thomas is one of those neighborhood boys. He lives, and studies at the West End School.

"I'm thinking about going to the military or getting a college degree," Thomas said.

He focuses not only on career goals, but life goals too. Most of the goals involve learning the values that will allow Thomas to grow into the kind of man that will make his family and teachers proud.

"Manners,how to treat women, being respectful, getting ready for the world that we're coming into," explained Thomas.

Kenjii may be young, but he's sharp, and well aware of what's going in his neighborhood.

"They're dying because they ended up going down the wrong road."

Violence is an underlying theme at the school.

"Three of those little boys that you met today had close family members murdered within the last school year. I have a board member who had his sister and nephew murdered. It's sadly a part of the fabric of the lives our boys live," Blair said.

But, they refuse to allow violence to define them.

"They have all the god given talents that any one else in this community has, they just need an opportunity to express those values," said Thomas.

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