Kenneth Gray is from a poor family, raised by his grandmother alone. He grew up on 42nd Street in Shawnee, a part of town where opportunities are sparse. He’s African-American. By the statistics, the odds are stacked against him.

He is a “maybe kid.”

“Maybe you’ll go to class,” says Kenneth, 18. “Maybe you’ll graduate. Maybe you won’t drop out. Maybe you won’t go to prison.”

Or maybe he won’t.

Educators have a term for young people like Kenneth: “at risk”—at risk of any of those grim ends. In Jefferson County Public Schools, two-third of students are considered low-income. About 12,000 are homeless. More than 900 are in foster care. All considered at risk.

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