St. Petersburg Times
Special report
Video report
  • For their own good
    Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
  • More video reports
Multimedia report
Print Email this storyEmail story Comment Email editor
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
Your name Your email
Friend's name Friend's email
Your message

More than math, it's lessons in life

Published May 22, 2005

NEW PORT RICHEY - The end of an era for Kim Delaney loomed half an hour away, and she thirsted for a Pepsi.

She asked Dad for a dollar.

"A dollar?" he asked, video camera in hand. "You're hitting me up for money and you haven't even gotten to college yet."

But he reached in his pocket to pull out a crinkled bill for his third and youngest daughter.

"It's been a tough road," he said after she headed for the vending machine. "But we made it. I'm proud of her."

Kim was one of 23 students celebrated in Richard Milburn Academy's third graduating class Friday.

Friends and parents packed the small school's auditorium for the ceremony. The sound system wasn't working, so those with speeches spoke loudly.

Sara Golden, senior class president, talked of what they were leaving behind.

"High school is more than reading, writing and arithmetic," she said. "It's learning to grow up and mature. It's having your first love and your first heartbreak."

Valedictorian Josh Avera extolled the tenets of tae kwon do to his peers: courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control and indomitable spirit.

"The Bible says you reap what you sow," he said. "That's true. You get out what you put in.

The academy provides an alternative to students who have not been successful in traditional public high schools. The formula worked for Kim Delaney. After moving from New Jersey two years ago, she started at Gulf High School but found herself overwhelmed. After a month, she switched to Milburn.

Kim looks forward to attending Florida Gulf Coast University to study psychology.

"I had a lot of issues growing up," she said. "And I think it would be good to help others going through the same things."

[Last modified May 22, 2005, 01:07:21]

Share your thoughts on this story

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Subscribe to the Times
Click here for daily delivery
of the St. Petersburg Times.

Email Newsletters