Julian’s energy and charisma are evident the moment he enters a room. The 17-year-old greets new acquaintances with the enthusiasm of an old friend and he’s ready with a quick smile in any situation. This engaging personality would be notable in any teenager, and it is especially remarkable in light of the difficulty Julian has faced.
Julian’s young life was tumultuous and transitory. After his father was accused of domestic violence, Julian moved from place to place with his mother as she attempted to find a stable environment. His mother’s relationships continued to cause friction between them and, together with his stepfather’s anger problems, prompted him to make the tough decision to leave his family. Shortly before his 17th birthday, Julian found stable housing at Toussaint Academy.
At Toussaint Academy, Julian has enjoyed the consistency of living in one place and the challenge of learning how to get along with a diverse group of people. Although he feels his early educational instability has made it difficult for him to excel in high school, he looks forward to graduating in May 2011. As the son of illiterate parents who did not emphasize the importance of education, Julian knows this is a significant accomplishment.
When he’s not studying, Julian spends much of his free time on his longboard. The special skateboard’s three best qualities? “It gets me where I need to be, gives me a chance to listen to my music, and keeps my hands free to eat my Subway sandwich,” Julian says.
Julian also regularly helps in the kitchen at his church and volunteers to remove graffiti around downtown San Diego. Early in his life, church involvement offered a way for Julian to escape the fighting and other family turmoil, and today he encourages others to get involved as well.
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