After seeing his father murdered at age 9 and his mother in and out of jail, Marcus Buggs could have been a statistic; another African-American young man from a poor and broken home.
Video Journalist Eric Seals met Marcus in the final year of high school as he struggled to stay in school and watch over his younger siblings while working towards the dream of being the first in his family to attend college. The odds were stacked against him. For many high-risk students, college can be sink or swim. The Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education has found that just 16% of students with family incomes under $30,000 graduate in six years.
Eric delved deep into Marcus’ life to reveal a young man forced to grow up too fast. In this documentary short we learned about a young man who wanted to succeed, but was afraid of the unknown. We learned about a young man who was angry with his mother for her mistakes, but still wanted her approval. We learned about a young man who felt the obligation to his siblings, but wanted a future beyond being their surrogate parent.
The candid interviews and deeply honest exchanges between Marcus and Ben, his high school principal and mentor, are riveting. Detroit Free Press readers thought so too. Numerous emails, calls and letters of support came in for Marcus including $1,500 for books and supplies.
After years of hardship and jumping over all the hurdles placed in front of him, Marcus made it to college in the fall of 2012 at Western Michigan University. After two semesters the road became harder with more obstacles place in front of him, this time by his own hand not someone elses.
Eric Seals/Detroit Free Press