Private inner-city school aims to set at-risk boys on the right - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Private inner-city school aims to set at-risk boys on the right path

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West End School is a private school for at-risk boys. (Source: WAVE 3 News) West End School is a private school for at-risk boys. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Students recite the Pledges of Allegiance at West End School. (Source: WAVE 3 News) Students recite the Pledges of Allegiance at West End School. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
West End School co-founder Debbie Blair (Source: WAVE 3 News) West End School co-founder Debbie Blair (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Jordan Duff (Source: WAVE 3 News) Jordan Duff (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Darrell Griffith (Source: WAVE 3 News) Darrell Griffith (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - We all have problems we must face, but some young men in our world today are struggling with life or death situations. Louisville's West End School strives to address all of the issues boys in our community face by creating for its students an environment of high expectations and personal responsibility.

“In the classes, there's not a lot of people," said 7th grader Nay Kaw. "We don't get distracted.”

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There are not many distractions of any kind at West End School -- no TVs, no cell phones and no video games.

“To be a man is to be responsible," said Ahmad Moore as he sat straight.

[PREVIOUS STORY: Jennifer Lawrence hustles up money for West End School]

Moore's line is the private school's motto and a quote from French Author Atione de Saint-Exupery.

”Little by little, they're taking charge of their lives, said West End School co-founder Debbie Blair proudly.

[PREVIOUS STORY: West End School graduates begin next phase of education]

Little by little, the school's success has silenced a lot of the skeptics who didn't understand or believe in its goal.

“One of the nice things about a boarding school, you can create within the walls the atmosphere that you want,” explained Blair.

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Jordan Duff, a member of the first graduating class of West End School, a graduate of Kentucky Country Day and pre-law student at Campbellsville University, not only agrees, he also considers himself a prime example.

“I saw the path that my friends were going down, my older brother was going down," said Duff. "I knew I was going to go that way or something else was going to happen worse. I had to step up and leave that environment and do better for myself.”

Duff's Grandmother Lora Henderson agrees. “What they have, what they give these boys, I tell you, you can't market it. It's genuine," she said. "They just make [the boys] want to do better.”

So far, 18 graduates of West End School have earned millions of dollars in scholarships to the best local high schools and colleges across the country.

“We received no state, federal or city money," Blair pointed out.

The school runs on faith, a fair chance and a lot of people power.

“It's been foundations. It's been individuals. It's been businesses,” said Blair of how the school has made it.

Donations and volunteers helped transform the vacant Jessie Rodman Carter Elementary School, which before that was Virginia Avenue Elementary, into what is now West End School. Many well-known Louisvillians were schooled in the building, including former University of Louisville star basketball player-turned-pro Darrell Griffith.

“What they're doing for these young men here in this community is phenomenal,” Griffith exclaimed as he watched work being done the school's Darrell Griffith Athletic Center.

Griffith hopes the gym attracts more money and more attention for the school.

“You'll see the kids. You'll see what we're doing here -- our vision -- and you'll see how we're changing lives, and then you make your decision, and I guarantee you'll want to be part of the West End School,” said Griffith.

The school has added classes for boys pre-K through 5th grade. It is always in need of funds, volunteers and materials for the school. One of the easiest ways to donate to the school is by texting the letters WES to 80888. That text will send a one-time donation of $10 that will be added to your cell phone bill.

Copyright 2014 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.

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