Stevenson senior masters life's biggest challenges

OWINGS MILLS, Md. - Stevenson senior Alphonso Mayo said the title of his book would be “The Promise.”

“I was born to a drug addicted mom and abandoned at 6 months,” Mayo said.

Mayo, 26, a Baltimore native, was born with a bad heart and saw things he never should have seen, including violence. He used football for an escape; first at Northwestern High School and later at Stevenson.

A little more than a decade ago, Mayo was preparing to enter high school unable to read and write. Now, he’s just days away from graduating at Stevenson.

Mayo said he always remembered the words told to him from his former football coach, Roland Brown.

“You can’t quit,” Mayo said.

Mayo said he worked multiple jobs and applied for countless grants and scholarships to help pay his way through school. Mayo then had to deal with both of his grandparents becoming terminally ill. Even sick with cancer, his grandmother always remembered Mayo’s promise.

“She never forgot that I would go back to school,” Mayo said.

When Mayo walks across the stage for graduation on Friday, the human services major knows his grandparents will be looking down on him. He already makes appearances at local middle and high schools as a motivational speaker and he plans to open a day care center, which he hopes to name after his grandparents.

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