As a child, Darrion Cockrell wasn’t a fan of school and he was constantly a part of the foster care system.
Unfortunately, he became a gang member at the age of 10. However, thanks to some good people around him, he worked his way up and eventually studied to become a teacher.
Today, he’s one of the best teachers in Missouri.
Amazing Transformation: How a Gang Member Became a Teacher
Cockrell or Mr. DC as his students love to call him was recently named the Teacher of the Year by the Missouri Department of Education.
According to the state’s commissioner of education, Margie Vandeven, Missouri is happy to have so many amazing educators and Cockrell is a wonderful representative of their state.
They love how he’s helping the students nourish both physical and mental wellness and the connections he has with them will impact the children of Crestwood for years to come.
My Mother Was Addicted to Drugs & I Lost My Father at the age of 4
Cockrell didn’t have it easy throughout his childhood-his mother was addicted to drugs and she had 2 of her 6 children at the age of 16. His father was killed when Cockrell was only 4.
So, he was constantly in and out of the foster care system after the age of 6.
He says he grew up in St Louis thinking he has no future and that he will eventually end like his friends-in jail or dead.
The speech he held when he received the award was so inspiring that the school district shared a video of it on YouTube.
In this video, Cockrell also shares more about his life-he says he owes it to his teachers who guided him on the right path and specifically a man named Ken.
This man looked out for him when he was at a boys’ home during middle school. He recalls how he taught him that it’s okay to be strong, but also to show compassion. Ken was his father figure.
When he was in 7th grade, his football coach and his wife adopted him. He also graduated from University of Missouri-St Louis.
He wants other teachers to understand the immense power they hold to make a positive or negative influence in young people’s lives.