From Gang Member to Teacher of the Year — One Man’s Incredible Story

A young man who grew up in foster homes and joined a gang before the age of 10 has been named Teacher of the Year by the Missouri Department of Education.

Darrion Cockrell’s story is one of hardship, redemption, and mentoring.

“I was born to a drug-addicted mother who had two of her six kids by the age of 16. My father was murdered when I was 4, and I began my journey in and out of the foster care system not long after my 6th birthday," Cockrell said during a powerful acceptance speech

Cockrell credits his teachers with helping him turn his life around. His coach adopted him in the 7th grade. Cockrell would go on to attend the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Today, he’s a beloved physical education teacher at Crestwood Elementary School in St. Louis, Missouri.

To help inspire others, Lindbergh Schools has released a moving video about Cockrell’s life story. You can watch it above.