Tae B. has made many positive changes in his life during the past two years — so many that he earned a prestigious award and $1,000 scholarship for his noteworthy achievements.
Tae, a senior at Helensview High School, was one of six Portland-area high school students honored at the 2018 Drum Major Celebration, held by Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church during Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. The Drum Major awards — inspired by a 1968 speech where King said, “Let me be remembered as a drum major for justice, peace, and righteousness” — celebrate students and standout civil servants and community leaders.
Tae (pictured above with his school principal Dawn Joella Jackson) was in notable company at the event. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler was among the attendees, and the civic leaders receiving awards included Oregon Sen. Jackie Winters and Oregon Rep. Jennifer Williamson, the House Majority Leader. Tae was accompanied by several caseworkers who worked hard to support him during his time at OYA, including Barry Diggs, his juvenile parole and probation officer (JPPO), and Amy Pena, a transition JPPO.
“Tae has overcome many hurdles,” Pena says. “He is truly a shining star, and each day he makes steps in a positive direction.”
The following bio of Tae appeared in the awards program:
Tae has been part of the Helensview school community for five years — a period that has seen him noticeably transform and blossom.
During the first portion of his time at Helensview, Tae was reluctant to learn and engage in class, and struggled with behavior and relationship challenges. As a result of these and other struggles, Tae spent time on probation and was in and out of jail. But in the fall of 2016, Tae returned to Helensview. And in the past two years, school officials and advisors have seen Tae grow into a mature and responsible young man.
Tae’s growth has served as an inspiration for many of his fellow students. Tae has developed academic skills in math and reading. He has participated in Helensview woodshop, and is deeply involved in the school’s studio program where he has produced mature music that is both powerful, and tells a story. But it is Tae’s ability to build relationships and hold empathy for those around him that has impressed Helensview faculty the most.
Tae willingly assists other students, and often talks about working with youth who have struggled with the same challenges he’s faced in his own life. Tae has fought hard to reach to the point where he is now, and possesses within him the drive to champion others. Tae will graduate from Helensview this month, and was recently admitted to a pre-apprenticeship program at Portland Youth Builders, where he will learn and work
in the trades.
Tae would like to thank his dad who has raised him as a single parent. Helensview is so proud of Tae and his success!