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Hasan Davis was arrested at age eleven and was expelled from every school he ever attended. But people in his life never stopped believing in him.
Now he works with high-risk kids much like himself at their age, trying to show them that they can change their lives. Hasan described his struggles and how he eventually overcame them for the nationally broadcast KET series, “Dropping Back In.” You can view the series online at droppingbackin.org.
Growing up in St. Louis, Mo., Davis’ life was stable until age six, when he walked in on his father choking his mother. Life seemed to fall apart after that; his father was taken away and he, his siblings and their mother got by on food stamps.
Hasan was diagnosed with ADHD and Dyslexia at a young age, and moved around between five different elementary schools because of it. When his first brush with the law occurred at age of 11, Hasan found himself enrolled in alternative school.
Davis remembers the administrator of the school, Dr. Lorraine Wilson, pulling him into her office one day. She said she thought he could accomplish anything he put his mind to and she challenged him prove her wrong.
“For the first time in my educational career someone told me that I was already great and dared me to give up great for something less than that,” said Davis.
Along with Hasan’s mother, Wilson encouraged him to believe he was much more than the ‘thug’ and ‘monster’ others had labeled him.
He did prove Wilson wrong, initially, getting expelled from the school, but he eventually decided to take and pass the GED test and then ventured on to tackle college.
Hasan was accepted by Berea College in Berea, KY. and realized it was time to try something different. He had never been to Kentucky or a small town like Berea.
“I spent my entire first year feeling like an imposter,” said Davis. He may have felt unprepared, but he was there, which was more than he could say for his two brothers, both of whom were behind bars, serving life sentences.
After two expulsions from Berea, he came back a third time. He believes had he not made that last attempt at an education, he probably would be serving time, as well.
Hasan graduated from Berea as president of the student body and went on to graduate from the University of Kentucky School of Law.
He teaches his students to work for their life. He tells them all about his arrests and expulsions, hoping he can show them what they can become and make them question their own choices.
“I try to be unabashable and let people know that I am a GED student and more.”