CLEVELAND, Ohio — They're leaving the community they call home to begin a new exciting chapter, but more than two dozen high school graduates will be taking a piece of it with them.
Le’John Rox, this year’s Valedictorian at Ginn Academy in Cleveland, is among them.
Le’John is heading to Eastern Michigan University in the fall with dreams of becoming a math teacher.
"Most kids growing up don't like math or realize it's just not useful in life. But I realized yes, it is, math is everything in life," said Rox.
To make sure Le’John, along with 29 other young men from Ginn get a strong start, principal Damon Holmes helped organize a "Stuff the Trunk" event.
"A little conversation around people who love the school, love us and love our children made this happen. The community wrapped themselves around this idea," said Holmes.
For the last few weeks, members of the community have been donating everyday essentials to create care packages for the college-bound teens.
"Towels, toothbrush, deodorant. We got sheets, we had comforters, toilet paper, we have toothpaste," said Holmes.
News 5 caught up with volunteers Friday morning as they assembled the dorm room must-haves into plastic storage tubs.
"We wanted to make sure they had everything that they needed, no excuses, you have this and we're here to support you and we believe in you," said volunteer Kathi Howard-Primes.
Beyond the material items, it's the message that goes along with the tubs that truly matters most.
"Even when things seem dark and you may feel alone that you never will be and you're part of this Ginn family no matter, forever. Once a Ginn man, always a Ginn man," said Holmes.
Le'John Rox is taking that to heart.
"It would be a great thing to give back to where I came from," said Le’John.
After graduating college, Rox wants to teach math at Ginn Academy.
"When I came here four years ago, I was childish, immature, doing dumb stuff, playing around. But now, I'm a man, got to get down take care of business, I'm ready for the real world," said Le’John.
With an attitude like that, Le'John is going far.
He said the care packages give him and his classmates an opportunity to save for other things like meal plans and room and board.
All the best to Le'John and the Ginn Academy class of 2022.