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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.
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In 30 years, a door to now
By ERNEST HOOPER
Published July 17, 2007
In 2037, Tampa's leaders will gather in Lykes Gaslight Square Park to celebrate the city's 150th anniversary, and unseal a time capsule.
I'm willing to wager it will be as hot as when folks stepped up to contribute to the capsule on Monday. Mayor Pam Iorio brought together various people - including me - to submit items for the capsule, and the collection will prove interesting 30 years from now.
Other than heat, they will find an array of items reflecting what life is like today: books, beads, brochures, pictures, newspapers, radio recordings, letters, essays and several DVDs.
Thanks to WTVT-Ch. 13 anchor Kelly Ring, there also will be a DVD player and a power cord. Given that Ring, as she noted, listened to music on an eight-track 30 years ago, it made sense to throw in the DVD player.
They also will peruse the 75th and 85th editions of La Gaceta, and try on a black Super Bowl XXXVII jacket from Bucs coach Jon Gruden.
People won't find a bowl of the Columbia's paella - even the strongest Tupperware couldn't keep it fresh for 30 years - but they will find a menu from Ybor City's venerable restaurant donated by Andrea Gonzmart.
What will they find from me? As much as a time capsule is about the past, it's also about the future. So, I submitted seven previously published columns I've written about aspiring young adults. I told the city I would submit three, but paring down so many choices proved more difficult.
My hope is that 30 years from now, these young people will have carved out successful lives. The city leaders may have to track down Adrian Diaz, Charles George, Camille Jacobs, Bernard "B.K." Jackson, Canaan McCaslin, Aylin Saner and Natasha Spencer.
But I don't think they will have to look for long. These folks already shine.
Diaz and McCaslin, winners of the Times-sponsored Andrew Barnes Scholarship in 2005, continue to thrive at their respective schools, Ohio State and Georgetown.
George, a young man living at the Metropolitan Ministries homeless shelter, will attend Derrick Brooks' Brooks-DeBartolo Academy in the fall.
Speaking of Brooks, the first Brooks Brunch member to graduate from college - Spencer - started med school at FSU after teaching English in Thailand this past year.
Jacobs, one of 10 young women honored by the Athena Society in 2006, starts at the University of Florida after winning a prestigious leadership award from Bank of America.
Saner, who headed a group that staged a Darfur relief concert in 2006, continues to study at the University of Tampa and has plans for another benefit concert in 2008.
Jackson, a 15-year-old saxophone player and rising star, won a national NAACP youth talent competition in Detroit last week, beating out 48 others.
I hate to put pressure on these kids, but I'm pretty sure they're going to be well known in 30 years. Hopefully, I'll be there in 2037 to tell their stories.
And if by chance I'm not around, maybe my own children - Matthew, Ethan and Madelyn - will be on hand for the ceremony. And maybe they, too, will have made significant contributions to improving our community.