This week’s story comes from Saint Louis, where Darion Cockrell, A.K. A. “Mister DC’ was named Missouri’s teacher of the year. Even more impressive than his teaching is what Darion overcame to get there: “I was born to a drug-addicted mother who had two of her kids bu the age of 16,” He said. “My father was murdered when I was 4, and I was in and out of Foster Care at age 6.” By age 10, Darion had joined a gang and was heading down a dangerous path. However, it was his educators and high school football coach who helped during his difficult childhood, to overcome the odds. Now, as an educator himself, Darion wants to emulate the teachers before him who taught compassion and perseverance. “I had a lot of challenges and hurdles,” he said. “And if it is not for those educators. I wouldn’t be the teacher of the year you see today.”

— Rick Morton