Being a Black Man
Interactive Feature: Series explores the lives of black men through their shared experiences and existence.
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Friday, June 23, noon ET

Being a Black Man: Ballou's Dynamic Duo

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V. Dion Haynes
Washington Post
Friday, June 23, 2006; 12:00 PM

Washington Post education reporter, V. Dion Haynes , Ballou Senior High School valedictorian Jachin Leatherman and salutatorian Wayne Nesbit were online Friday, June 23, 2006 at noon ET to take questions about " For the Love Of Ballou ," the fifth installment of the " Being a Black Man " series.

The transcript follows:

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Volunteered in Ballou while in college: While attending college in D.C. I had the opportunity to volunteer at Ballou.

Most days I was disappointed. Not by the students themselves, but by the fact that their lack of self-esteem, self-discipline and ambition was just a reflection of the lack of support and guidance they received at home. For me it all begins in the family and for a lot of these students their families are failing them.

I feel that what stands out most about Jachin and Wayne is the fact that they had caring, involved and supportive parents that set the bar very high. I am so proud that they both decided to use those blessings to support their peers to aim higher. Please continue to do so in college and in your adult life. It only gets harder, but the rewards are even greater.

V. Dion Haynes: I think what is unique about Jachin and Wayne is that their fathers from the beginning instilled in them that they should be leaders -- that they have something special that should be shared with others. I think most parents of gifted children would have taken those scholarship offers to the elite private school in the suburbs. It took a tremendous amount of sacrifice and commitment to the community for them to bypass the scholarship and to send their boys to Ballou.

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Clinton, Md.: Are you two familiar with Cedric Jennings a Ballou alumni, whose high school and college challenges were written about in the book "A Hope in the Unseen" by former writer of the Wall Street Journal Ron Suskind? Mr. Suskind followed Mr. Jennings throughout his years at Ballou High School and his journey thru college at Brown University. While, Mr. Jennings spent time at MIT during the summer he learned that all his hard work in school did not match the academic challenges that he faced. He worked even harder to keep himself on top and was quite successful because of his determined nature. What is instilled in the two of you to help you succeed as Mr. Jennings and what adversities have you faced that can strengthen you to go forward during trying times? Dena (Lawson) Briscoe 1978 Ballou Alumni

V. Dion Haynes: That was a fabulous book that chronicled the struggles of Jennings, a high-achieving student who was bullied and ostracized for being smart. Wayne and Jachin's popularity is a testament, in part, to how they were able to change the climate of the school to make high-academic achievement not only cool but a goal that can be accessible to others.

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Fairfax Station, Va.: Jachin and Wayne,

What an inspirational article I read about you two this morning. I've always maintained that no amount of testing, ad nausea analysis and/or additional taxpayer dollars will fix our failing schools. The only way underperforming schools can and will be fixed is by fostering and nurturing a deep sense of self-pride, self-worth.

What brave parenting you both received to embark on your quest to instill academia back into Ballou High School! What courage you both exhibited to stay the course against daunting odds...being academic ambassadors to your fellow students by leading the way via your sterling example.

Lauding your heroism is justly deserved; your zeal for life has obviously been infectious to those around you. You are both Crusaders in every sense of the word. As Crusaders, it's fitting that you will now both attend Holy Cross, the school from which I graduated in 1984. I wish you all the best as you continue your mission in Worcester. The Cross is fortunate to have men of such high caliber. I expressed that to HC's AD, Dick Regan, this very morning.

I trust the seeds you sowed at Ballou are strong enough to flourish for future classes of student athletes! Congrats and best wishes to you both!!

John Gaffigan - HC '84

Jachin Leatherman: Mr. Gaffigan thank you very much

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Clayton, N.C.: First, let me commend you two brothers for the work you've done. As a father with a son on the way, I often wonder how I am going to be able to keep him focused on being a great student when there is such a sentiment in our community that being smart is "white" and "unpopular". Have you guys ever encountered such perceptions from your peers, and if so, how did you manage to overcome this?

Wayne Nesbit: Well I just stayed focus and determined

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Southwest Washington, D.C.: African American males of U.S. birth today are NOT troubled by color of their skin, the shape of their noses and lips, the texture of their hair, or even "white" society's reaction to these physical characteristics. What ails African Americans is the content of their culture. African American culture continues to produce communities suffering from willful ignorance, self-disrespect and destruction. How else does one explain sentient human beings cultivating communities where males are allowed to father children out of wedlock-without shame or dishonor-to a degree where involved fatherhood becomes the rare exception rather than the norm? How else does one explain sentient human beings cultivating communities where young males are as likely to be killed by their own community members or incarcerated for predatory crimes-perpetrated mostly against their own-rather than graduate from college? How else does one explain sentient human beings cultivating communities where males are denigrated as "acting white" or being sellouts when they do educate themselves, act honorably, and show respect for themselves and kindness towards others? The explanation lies within what types of behaviors African Americans value and how African Americans act to achieve what they value-in other words, the answer to what ails African American males is the content of African American culture.

V. Dion Haynes: I don't agree with your assertion that all the negative behaviors you identified are inherently linked to African American culture. Yes, those negative behaviors exist; yes, there is plenty wrong in the black community. But I hope this story shows that there are numerous, numerous positive influences as well. We all tend to focus on the shootings, the low-achievement and everything depressing in the black community. But at Ballou I found many students who are eager to learn. I met many teachers who care about their students. I met parents who are involved in their children's education. I think Jachin and Wayne show us all that there are things we all can do to help. Rather than just complaining about the problem, we all can play some part in becoming a role model of some sort.

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New York: Why the hatred toward St John or DeMattha? Both are great schools that force studets to interact with people of different colors, religions and economic backgrounds. Much like the real world. These two are in for a shock when they get to Holy Cross.

Jachin Leatherman: I have no hatred toward either of the schools they both are excellent from my previous knowledge.

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Washington, D.C.: Congratualtions to Mr. Leatherman and Wayne Nesbit on their graduation and what they did for other studnets at Ballou. Now that you two will not be at Ballou, what is in place for students, especially student athletes, to continue to strive for a level of academic excellence instead of settling for what most outside of the school expect from them?

Wayne Nesbit: Well hopefully they will remember us and strive to be like us or better

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Washington, D.C.: Hey wayne did you use to attend Leckie elementary in SW?

Wayne Nesbit: Yes I did, who is this?

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Chapel Hill, N.C: The media often paints a picture of urban young black men as not being interested in success AND extra-curriculars. You've shown that its possible to excel in both. Did you ever feel resistance from peers? Were you looked at as "not cool" or geeks or whatever the young people call focused young men these days?

Jachin Leatherman: No we were never looked at as not being cool or being geeks. Other students look up to me and Wayne...we're kind of like role models.

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Phoenix, Ariz. : Jachin and Wayne, reading this article about you first thing this morning made my day, my week, my month, my year, my life. I graduated from D.C.'s Eastern High School in 1999 and I could count the other men who were handling their business academically, socially and extra-curricularly on one hand. I often felt alone, but never discouraged. Know that you are blessed to have had a peer to walk this journey with you. But if you ever get to a point where you feel like you're walking it by yourself, know that people all over the world are rooting for your success. Stay focused, but MOST IMPORTANTLY come back - even if it's only once a year. Other students need to see you. If they don't, they won't realize that excelling academically AND being involved in extra-curriculars is an option. Be blessed. Onward and Upward!

Jachin Leatherman: Thanks man it means alot to us to know that we are loved in our community and that's the point of this article. We want to give back to our community and show people we care about our education and how it has helped us excel.

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Tallahassee, Fla.: I am extremely proud of the both of you and pray that God will continue to order your steps and lead you both into his perfect will. I wish you both Godspeed and you continue on and ask that he give you both strength for the crossing.

Wayne Nesbit: Thank you, we will try our best to continue to succeed in life

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Capitol Heights, Md.: Hello to everybody! This story touched me so much you don't even know. I'M proud of you both. It shows that it can be done, you just have to stay focused, and KEEP AWAY from bad distractions. I love to hear great stories about our young black males. I hope to hear more great things about you all. God bless you both!

Jachin Leatherman: Thanks alot. It means so much to us to show us people truly care for what we are trying to do for our community.

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Silver Spring, Md.: I have two sons age 5 and 7.

I just wanted to pass along my congratulations. Your parents have done well. Enjoy a great summer, you guys obviously worked hard for it.

Good luck at college.

Jachin Leatherman: Thanks alot. Make sure your kids understand how much they mean to us. We want everyone to read the story and realize that we are trying to make a difference to them and for our community.

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Fairfax Station, Va.: side note...resending as I didn't get a confirm that my note was received. Sorry if my comments come to you in duplicate, but I'd rather that than they not be seen!

Jachin and Wayne,

What an inspirational article I read about you two this morning. I've always maintained that no amount of testing, ad nausea analysis and/or additional taxpayer dollars will fix our failing schools. The only way underperforming schools can and will be fixed is by fostering and nurturing a deep sense of self-pride, self-worth.

What brave parenting you both received to embark on your quest to instill academia back into Ballou High School! What courage you both exhibited to stay the course against daunting odds...being academic ambassadors to your fellow students by leading the way via your sterling example.

Lauding your heroism is justly deserved; your zeal for life has obviously been infectious to those around you. You are both Crusaders in every sense of the word. As Crusaders, it's fitting that you will now both attend Holy Cross, the school from which I graduated in 1984. I wish you all the best as you continue your mission in Worcester. The Cross is fortunate to have men of such high caliber. I expressed that to HC's AD, Dick Regan, this very morning.

I trust the seeds you sowed at Ballou are strong enough to flourish for future classes of student athletes! Congrats and best wishes to you both!!

John Gaffigan - HC '84

Wayne Nesbit: Thank you very much, I really appreciate your thoughts, please stay in touch with us, I hope to hear from you sometime soon, thanx again

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Washington, D.C.: First off-I want to congratulate both of you young men on your success. What was it that made you want to succeed in spite of the things that you saw going on around you? and How did you avoid getting caught up in the whole thug/crew/gang scene?

Jachin Leatherman: Well you have to let nothing get in your way...nothing can stop you from succeeding. If you know where you want to be in life keep your head straight and don't get too caught up in the gang scene.

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Washington, D.C.: I just want to congratulate Jachin and Wayne on their accomplishments and just ask how they decided to attend Holy Cross and what factors they took into consideration when choosing a school? Thanks and good luck!

Wayne Nesbit: Well although I had many other offers from college I chose the best one for me because I went with the school that focused more on academics and wouldn't take your schlorship away if you got injured, also it didn't hurt that my best friend was also attending, thank you

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Washington, D.C.: As an African-American graduate of the College of the Holy Cross '78, I welcome you both to the Cross where you will do well and prosper in the long line of great Crusaders morally, ethically and I hope financially. HThomas

Jachin Leatherman: HThomas I want to thank you for your support and tell you it means alot to us. Jack

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Arlington, Va.: Jachin and Wayne -- Congratulations. It was truly a great story of two great young men and role models. I hope that after 4 years at Holy Cross, that you return to D.C. I'm betting that one (if not both) of you could become mayor of this great city some day.

Wayne Nesbit: Thank you, Mayor of the City yea that would be something, thank you

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Arlington, Va.: Congratulations on your graduation! How did you decide on Holy Cross? What do you intend to study?

Jachin Leatherman: I decided Holy Cross through football. I was given a football scholarship so I took it and hopefully it will be a good place to become a man. I will study psychology and theater. Jack

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Washington, D.C.: I think that going to a school just because all of the other students are like you will put you at a competitive disadvantage later in your business career. You will need to know how to, and be comfortable working with and for people who are different than you. This is my problem with so-called "Black" colleges.

Wayne Nesbit: Yea I understand that but there are many good black colleges, and I also know that the real world isn't all black, therefore I see your point, but some black teens aren't ready for that culture shock

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Miami, Fla.: First I wanted to congratulate the two of you. I just wanted to know what colleges both of you are planning on attending. Are you attending a HBCU (Historically Black College or University) and what you think are the pros and cons are to choosing one. I myself did not go that route and was very happy with my choice of college and the experience I received going there but many people say that is the only way to go. Just curious on your thoughts.

Wayne Nesbit: Well we are both attending College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts, and thank you

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Washington, D.C.: Jachin and Wayne,

Kudos to both of you. I'm very proud of your accomplishments and sure that your attitude of excellence will continue. As a retired DCPS guidance counselor (I had Jacwana), it's nice to see young Black men stepping up to the plate for a change. Congrats to your respective fathers for their guidance and involvement in helping you to make wise choices and good decisions.

Jachin Leatherman: That's a good thing. My sister was a much better student then me and she has helped me and taught me alot. I guess I should be thanking you for that huh?

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Pennsylvania: Congratulations to Jachin and Wayne-- what an inspirational story! As a medical student, I would like to share with you a bit of advice as you go to college. As young men of color, I urge you to take special caution in your social interactions.

Where I went to college, there were very few Black males (maybe 1 or 2% of the school). Each year, at least one was expelled. The top reason? It wasn't academic troubles, it was sexual assault. My friends were approached by women of different ethnicities, who found them intriguing because of their color. Being friends with many of the men who were expelled, I noted that it was almost always nonblack women who made the sexual assault complaints. And, despite the fact that many of these women had aggressively pursued my friends and the allegations were often unsubstantiated, the men were consistently expelled or suspended until the complaining party had graduated. Once the blight of sexual assault is on your record, it is very difficult to find another top-tier institution that will accept you. Those allegations will follow you for life.

I'm not a Black male and certainly, I would anticipate that this is not the only hurdle you will overcome in college... but this was something in my college career that indicated to me that the playing field is still not equal for Black men. Good luck in all of your pursuits.

Wayne Nesbit: Thank you and I appreciate your concern.

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Baltimore, Md.: I visited Ballou in June 2005 as a part of the Big Tigger (BET host) Celebrity Panel Discussion as part of an AIDS Awareness outreach. I found the majority of Ballou students to be eager to learn more about being ready to make positive contributions to society. These students had lost friends to violence and were tired of being looked at as bad kids as a result of the media's attention to the problems of the school.

Jachin and Wayne, what types of things can Washington area entertainment/media insiders to do help encourage Ballou students?

Jachin Leatherman: Maybe entertainment can hold more events for youths that deal with the topics of violence and education. It would be a great way to get youth minds going at early ages rather than when it's too late.

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Falls Church, Va.: I just want to congratulate Jachin and Wayne on your graduation from Ballou and wish you much success in college. You have touched many lives and your thoughtfulness and caring for your fellow students is a wonderful gift that you have passed on. Your parents should be very proud of the great young men that they have raised.

Wayne Nesbit: Thank you!

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Oxon Hill, Md.: This is so amazing. I wish you both the best in whatever you do. Stay positive and keep on keeping on.

Jachin Leatherman: Will do and thanks for the support.

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Former Leckie student: I knew that your name sound familiar. This is Michael Cooke we went to leckie together for 5th grade in Ms. Valerie Young class. But congratulations on succeeding in High school.

Wayne Nesbit: Thank you, I think you may be talking about my brother Ricardo

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Bethesda, Md.: FABULOUS, UPLIFTING, HOPEFUL ARTICLE about Jachin & Wayne. This story made me cry and say a prayer of thanks that there are young men out there making a difference!!! Way to go, you guys--you are real heros! And great job to the reporters & photographers & editors who have worked on this terrific series. Thank you!

White mom in Bethesda, former (and future) D.C. resident, who LOVES the District & loves success stories like this!! Susan Sonnesyn Brooks

V. Dion Haynes: Thank you for your kind words. It was a pleasure for Marvin Joseph, the photographer, and me to work with Jachin and Wayne all these months. They truly are fun -- and funny - guys. Marvin and I both were sad during the graduation because it meant we wouldn't be able to hang out with them anymore.

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Forestville, Md.: Hello Gentlemen,

Did you all read the book PACT about 4 young men? Have you read Hill Harper book that came out in April of this year. "Letters to a young brother"? I attended Ballou during the same time your father did. I graduated with the class of 1980.

I wish you all the best.

Wayne Nesbit: That's great, I'm sure my father would be happy I talked to you

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Washington, D.C.: Great piece -- I love that these two are going to Holy Cross, my alma mater.

Jachin Leatherman: Thanks for the support.

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Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C.: Congratulations! And I hope the two of you continue to be involved with the community and provide much need leadership. DC and the US needs more leaders like you. And Obama!

A 1971 graduate of Wilson High

Jachin Leatherman: Thank you for your support.

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Washington, D.C.: Gentlemen,

I absolutely loved this story. First, I appreciate the Post featuring a positive story from our DC schools, and especially from the perspective of the schools' students. I think a lot of us are tired of hearing from grown adults!

It amazes me the way you two naturally found each other and developed a bond based on leadership and becoming role models. This is quite rare these days among high schools and teenagers in general. Your fellow students will be forever better for having you both as role models. And really appreciate Mr. Jachin's urging his friends to involve themselves in the democratic process by voting. Well done.

Warmest wishes and enjoy your next years in college!!

Wayne Nesbit: I really appreciate it, Thank you

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Washington, D.C.: Would you agree that males, regardless of race, but perhaps even more pronounced amond black males, respond more to male roles models, whether they be positive or negative ones? I ask this because you would think that with higher numbers of educated and successful black females that this would inspire young black males to also achieve. Also, you would that seeing their mothers work and somehow lead them to be more industrious. Do black males need to see other black males leading by example in order to follow suit?

Wayne Nesbit: Yea I do think black males need to see other black males doing something positive because it goes both ways if all they see is negative how are you going to expect something new out of them if they don't know how? Thank you

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Washington, D.C.: I just wanted to take the time to commend the both of you on your accomplishments!As someone who is so saddened by our youth today,you two are proof that young black men are capabable of doing something positive. I had to stop reading the article at one point because it made me so proud that i began to tear up. Please keep up the good work!

Jachin Leatherman: WOW! I'm glad that our voyage has been so inspirational to others. Thanks for your support.

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Upper Marlboro, Md..: What are you both doing this summer?

What are you reading outside of school assignments?

Jachin and Wayne, what would you do if each of you interviewed for a great job that you each wanted very badly, and the other one was accepted and you were not? Be honest with youself, because life has a way of testing you to see what you are really made of.

what would you do if the above scenario was a girl (Not a job)and she chose you.

Where is God and Jesus in you perception and pursuit of a meaningful life?

I retired from DCPS a year ago, after 38 years on the Junior High level. Your pursuits at Ballou are very encouraging and I hope and pray that you will continue to stay focued, be determined not to give up, be respectful of and don't forget those who have helped you along the way, because someone did help you. So, pass it on, and continue to tutor, be supportive of each other and if you look around for someone to help you won't have time to think about any problems you think you have. Love life, love people, love yourself, and most of all Love God, because you cannot do any of the rest if you don't love Him.

Wayne Nesbit: I don't think either would affect our friendship because we have already been through so much but I appreciate your concern, thank you

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Alexandria, Va.: I barely had time to read the paper this morning with 4 young kids at home and a sick toddler, but the human interest story looked so inspiring and with 3 boys to rear, I had to read it. As a social worker in the early and mid 1990s, I spent a lot of time in Congress Heights, shuttling clients to and from St. Elizabeth's outpatient clinics. I would pass Ballou several times a week as I made home visits with my clients. When I would visit the local businesses, as a white woman, merchants would tell me to be careful. I really liked the culture there and the people I worked with, yet it seemed risky to live there. The motivation of these youths and the support from their fathers brought tears of joy to my eyes as I read of their successes in a tough climate. While I read, I kept wondering "which elite colleges would these two scholar-athletes attend"? They certainly wouldn't pass that down. The clincher came in the last paragraph -College of the Holy Cross -my alma mater. I graduated from there in 1989 and thought -way to go Jesuits! Way to go Wayne and Jachin! The Jesuits value inner city youth and their triumphs and will encourage Jachin and Wayne to keep giving back to their community as successful adults. A Jesuit education will empower them to continue their efforts to break the cycle of undereducated black youth from the inner city. Stacia Clutterbuck Todd

Jachin Leatherman: It's good to know that our lives have touched people and we hope your child is touched and their sickness goes away.

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Silver Spring, Md.: I am so proud of you both. I wish you well. Jachin and Wayne, keep up the positive attidue and the belief in yourselves. Now that you have graduated from Ballou, will you continue to mentor the other members of the football team, who have depended on your guidance and support?

Wayne Nesbit: I depended on God, my father, and my great friends, I really appreciate my dad he is my everything I give this all to him, thank you

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Kansas City, Mo.: You two had something most young black men don't - supportive fathers in their lives. What advice do you have for those who don't have good parenting? Where are they supposed to get their strength from?

Jachin Leatherman: Yes I agree with you, without our fathers in our lives we wouldn't be half of the men we are today. Youths can look towards mentors or anyone who cares for them to help them get the edge and succeed in life.

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Southeast Washington, D.C.: As a resident in the SE DC community I thank you all greatly for shedding a positive light on the community. Are you all still in need of scholarship funds?

Wayne Nesbit: Yes we are, we need as much support as possible, if you would like to contact us please contact The Washington Post or you can email me at wnesbit40@yahoo.com, thank you

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Washington, D.C.: This is not so much about the young men, who I was deeply impressed by, but more about something that caught my attention. Can you describe the scenario in which 40 students graduated early from Ballou? This seems sort of susipcious.

Jachin Leatherman: Well we just put in a block scheduling system last year which gives students at least 8 credits a year and gave many students chances to take the core classes they needed to take early.

_______________________

Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C.: I just realized you are going to Holy Cross in Worcester MA. I'm a Clark graduate. Be sure to take advantage of the consortium and visit the other seven colleges. I learned to drive a stick shift going up the hill at Holy Cross.

Jachin Leatherman: Yea hopefully I will learn how to drive a stick shift one day too.

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Mitchellville, Md.: Wayne & Jachin,

My feelings echo many of the previous comments. This article made me feel so proud and hopeful!!! I have two sons aged 3 and 8. Your story is an inspiration to all, regardless of race, gender, or age. To your fathers, I say, "Well done!" Your experiences are proof that strong parenting can make all the difference in our childrens' lives. Congrats to you both and I wish you well in college and beyond!

Wayne Nesbit: Thank you

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Capitol Heights, Md.: Hello again! I just want to say, if you have children great, and if you do it will be an even harder, longer, struggle! Be strong brothers!

Jachin Leatherman: Well we're young and we don't have any kids yet but I'm sure if we did the struggle would be way more challenging

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Washington, D.C.: This is what i like to see...two positive black young men coming out of Ballou. I am a ex-Staff member from the Ballou Branch Boys & Girls Club and I am very proud of the both you. Wayne you proved to me that you was serious when you were the only one to show up for study hall and did what needed to be done. Jacin I didnt really have the pleasure of meetiing you but i know if you hung out with Wayne then you was on the same serious level as he his about education. Ballou needed this...you guys just put a fresh face on Ballou and the Southeast area.

Wayne Nesbit: Thank you we really appreciate this, thanx again

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Central Massachusetts: So proud that you are coming to Worcester to continue your studies. Congratulations to you both. You have inspired this middle-aged white woman to step up and be more of a leader in my own life. Best wishes for the future!

Jachin Leatherman: Thanks. It makes us proud to know that we inspire people even more to inspire individauls older than us.

_______________________

Washington, D.C.: amazing--that's all I have to say about you two.

Jachin Leatherman: THANKS...that touches us to our hearts to know we inspire people so much.

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Tallahassee, Fla.: I am very proud of both of you. May the Lord continue to bless you both. Godspeed in your new pursuits

Jachin Leatherman: THANK YOU ALOT. That means alot to us to know we inspire people.

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Sterling, Va.: As a teacher, I want to commend these two young men. I wish them much sucess in their future endeavors. They are fine examples of future leaders.

Jachin Leatherman: Thanks alot for your support.

_______________________

Washington, D.C.: Did either of you find it hard to stay focused on your goal of being high achievers? I am a product of D.C. Public Schools, and I found it hard to stay on the path. I did stay on the path but it was a struggle for me.

Wayne Nesbit: I don't want to say it was hard but it wasn't easy, I just stayed focused and was determined to succeed. thank you

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Herndon, Va.: I understand how it was back in the day. I was the first kid to get shot in a public school (Dunbar High) in Washington D.C. back in 1967. I had transferred from Anacostia after getting beat up every day. Was only at Dunbar one week before getting shot on the rifle range. Dropped out of school, got sent a draft notice from the Army, decided to join the U.S. Navy (to avoid going to Vietnam) and winded up going there anyway. I spent 20 years on active duty, retired and made something of myself. The problem is: How do you tell students to be productive and stay positive when, if they hear my story; they say to themselves "I don't have to finish High School. I can drop out and still make something of my life. He did it." I would love to tell my story but don't want to discourage kids from finishing school. It is a doggy dog world out here and every child needs to equip themselves with as much knowledge armour as they possibly can in order to make it.

If I can be of any assistance, please contact me through the following:

Raymond Burns

1707 Whitewood Lane, Herndon, VA. 20170

(703) 742-9749 (Home)

Jachin Leatherman: Thank you if we can think of anything we need help with we will surely give you a call Mr. Burns.

_______________________

Washington, D.C.: Jachin and Wayne, your story has me in tears today because it is so moving. I am so very inspired by you.

Please know that there will be those that question you, your motivations, and your abilities throughout your journey (you can see that fact from some of the postings in this online chat). However, with your continued dedication, you will do well in whatever you decide to pursue.

As I moved from a 95% black high school to a 95% white undergrad university to a 90% white graduate school to the role of CIO of a company in Boston, I kept one thing in mind "You can show them better than you can tell them". I encourage you to do the same.

Please keep up this good work. I know the two of you will go as far as you'd like in life!

Wayne Nesbit: Thank you we really appreicate your comment and feelings, we will continue to do our very best, thanx

_______________________

Washington, D.C.: I am so proud of you young gentlemen. Did you guys consider Morehouse College? It would have proven a more nurturing environment I think, and is a second to none from an academic standpoint.

A Morehouse Alumnus

Jachin Leatherman: Thank you and yes we both considered Morehouse but with the athletic standpoint at Holy Cross.

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re -- A Hope in The Unseen: Tell me why these two will not have a similar experience to Jennings struggles (socially and in the classroom) at Brown? A Hope was a great work. Did Jennings ever graduate from Brown?

V. Dion Haynes: Lots of college students -- black and white; lower- middle- and upper-class; etc. -- struggle when they first get on campus. Cedric got through undergraduate and graduate schools. Jachin and Wayne are just as determined and -- whatever struggles they may have in the transition -- I'm sure they will work through them together like they always have done.

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Richmond, Va.: Jachin & Wayne,

How do you think Ballou has prepared you for when you do enter institutions that are primarily white?

Nell

Wayne Nesbit: Ballou has done a tremendous job in preparing us for college and the real world, I know we are confident that we will succeed and go on to do great things

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Blacksburg, Va.: The story is just what people need to be reading: anyone can accomplish great things in school, given a chance and someone to help them out.

You guys should start a program in the area, with the help of The Post's influence in the region, to get people to volunteer to mentor at school.

If you had to pick two reasons why schools such as Ballou and the students attending them perform so poorly, what would they be?

Jachin Leatherman: Poor parenting because the students don't know anything. The parents have to instill it into their children. And lack of role models. When students have role models and mentors they often tend to do better. And the idea about a program sounds good maybe we will try to pursue that

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Bristow, Va.: Jachin and Wayne you are both wonderful role models for our young black male generation. I commend you for taking a firm stand in placing your education as priority. You both are a true testament that you can balance academics and sports. I also praise your parents for raising such grounded and responsible young men. Keep up the good work. I hope you handed off your torches to other students to carry on what you've begun.

Wayne Nesbit: Yea hopefully the success will continue, and thank you

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Mayor of DC: I'll vote for either of you!

In all seriousness, I hope D.C. benefits from your future success and that you "return" to us. We are a wonderful city, but we need help. In order for the city to be helped, we need leadership, and you two are clearly not afraid to truly lead. Our city leaders could take a lesson from YOU on leadership.

Jachin Leatherman: Well you should set something up where we can meet the people and talk to them and give them our insight on the issues. Thanks for your support.

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V. Dion Haynes: Thanks, everybody. Enjoyed the chat.

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Wayne Nesbit: GOODBYE! everyone thanx for everything!

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Jachin Leatherman: GOODBYE EVERYONE THANKS FOR THE SUPPORT.

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Editor's Note: washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over Live Online discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions. washingtonpost.com is not responsible for any content posted by third parties.


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