SAN ANTONIO - The former principal of a recently executed death row inmate is devoting her life to living out part of his final statement.
Christopher Young, who was sentenced to death for murdering a convenience store owner in 2004, said weeks before his execution that he wanted a better outcome for troubled youth like himself.
Right before he took his last breath, Young mentioned that he wanted the kids he'd been mentoring while behind bars to keep up the fight.
Now, one of Young’s former educators, Caroline Ross, is carrying out that mission.
Ross has recruited a former Spurs player and UTSA head coach, to help make that happen.
“Chris was just a typical young man," Ross said. "I think they realize that they make bad choices to get sent to the alternative school."
Ross came to know Young during his time in alternative school where she was a principal. She has a long history of working with kids. She spent 34 years as an educator in San Antonio.
“Most of the time, when the children do come to me, when I was a principal at that time, they were sent there for persistent misbehavior,” Ross said.
Behavior Ross has dedicated her life to correcting before it escalates, with hope that children won’t end up like Young.
“If we just look the trends in their data, trends in their behavior, trends in their reading and writing scores and don't have this misconception that they're doing what they're supposed to do during the summer months,” Ross said.
Young isn't taking on this challenge alone. Former Spurs point guard Johnny Moore is also helping transform young lives.
“I saw how they gravitate and I understand how they look at celebrities,” Moore said.
Former 11-year UTSA head basketball coach Tim Carter is also part of the movement to put troubled kids on a path to success.
“Coaches can really touch young people because they're around them in intimate situations,”
They hope their influence can make an impact on the lives of troubled, misguided youth.
“A coach made a big impact in my life when I was in high school and when I was in college,” Carter said.
“I realized no one makes it through this life on their own, so I think that it’s part of our duties, part of our obligation to give back,” Moore said.
Ross is working with her team of influencers to help local school districts and hold workshops. The group is focused on young men of color.
According to the Association of American Colleges and Universities, men of color are overrepresented among students suspended from, or held back in school.
“(As far as teachers are concerned), how can I be a better teacher, mentor, role model for my student? Instead of maybe pushing a child's button, because you know kids are coming to school with a lot of baggage," Ross said.
She said she feels that baggage should be unloaded before it's too late.
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