Former Gang Member Named Teacher Of The Year In Missouri

It doesn’t matter who we are, we are all going to overcome something in our lives and become better as a result of it. This is true on all levels but at times, we hear about someone who takes things even further.

That was the case with Darrion Cockrell, who received the highest honor in the state of Missouri for teachers.

Cockrell is a teacher in suburban St. Louis at the Crestwood Elementary School. After receiving the award for Missouri’s Teacher of the Year, he was given an opportunity to give an acceptance speech and people were amazed at what this man had to say.

Photo: YouTube/Lindbergh Schools
Photo: YouTube/Lindbergh Schools

In order to get his speech started, he talked about how there were obstacles in his life that had to be overcome. This included being a “Six-deuce-87 Kitchen Crip gangster.” In other words, he was in a gang.

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His difficulties in life started at a young age. His mother had six children, two of which were born before she was 16 and she was addicted to drugs. When Cockrell was only four years old, his father was murdered and he started working through the foster care system at that point.

Photo: YouTube/Lindbergh Schools

Many children would have struggled, and Cockrell had his struggles as well but the teachers that were taking care of him helped to motivate him when he was dealing with difficult times in life. He also had dreams of being in the NFL, and when he started to change his perspective, things in his life started to change.

The school district was moved by the speech that he gave and they asked him to be in a video that talks more about his life.

He explained how he was only 10 years old when he got started with gang life. He said: “That was normal life for me. I was going down the wrong path, destined to end up just like my friends – dead or in jail.”

Photo: YouTube/Lindbergh Schools
Photo: YouTube/Lindbergh Schools

He also talked about a man named Ken, who took him under his wing and became a father figure to him. Cockrell said that he taught him it was okay to be tough but it was equally okay to be compassionate.

Perhaps Cockrell summed things up best when he was speaking with a local news station, saying: “I had a lot of challenges and a lot of hurdles, and if it were not for those educators who helped me along the way, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

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