I want you spend a half hour hearing from three young African-American men, students at IPS’ Tech High School, who WILL be graduating next month. I talked with them on Afternoons with Amos. In recent days there’s been a lot of controversy about IPS laying off forty-seven African-American professional employees; nearly all of them Black males. Black men who worked with these three young men I talked with and hundreds of others. Who encouraging them to be athletes on teams like Tech’s football team, but also encouraging and making sure they succeeded in the classroom. I talked with Tech Seniors William Lee, Christian Howard and Fred Hopkins. Lee and Howard are defensive players on Tech’s team, Hopkins played offensive line. All three are graduating on time. In our interview they talked about the importance of their coaches and conditioning coaches. Black men IPS wants to eliminate. The three described the role those Black IPS professionals played in molding and nurturing them, or as Hopkins told me “being an alternate father” to them. In our interview they talked about their goals in life, even having a “Plan B” in case sports does work out. Two of the three have 3.0 GPA’s, the other a 2.8 GPA. Hopkins and Lee will be attending Arizona Western University, a junior college in Yuma; while Howard will be attending Northern Illinois University. All on football scholarships. Lee, Howard and Hopkins all have had to struggle with adversity. Lee was stuck in an IPS alternative school, until a coach, a Black male IPS professional inspired and motivated him to succeed. Hopkins has a brother with Cerebral Palsy who inspires him in his efforts. As a freshman, Howard was homeless. Hopkins received publicity his freshman year when coaches couldn’t find shoes for his then size 20 feet (they’re now size 22). But the publcity quickly left and he’s spent the last years, as his teammates have being good athletes and students. It’s because of Black male professionals in IPS that Fred Hopkins, Christian Howard and William Lee and many others are getting good grades, are learning positive experiences in life and are going on to college. Click the Link To Be Inspired by these Three Young Black Men. Hear their story and the Response of our listeners/community. Runs 38 Minutes ©2013 WTLC/Radio One.