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What it means to be a ‘Grad with Grit’

Editor’s note: “Study Hall” highlights the students, teachers and others making education magic happen every day in classrooms across Kent County and beyond. We dive into the challenges and changes of K-12 education, opening a window into our public schools to provide a glimpse of the little miracles of learning that happen there. Featuring a rotating cast of guests from all 20 school districts in Kent Intermediate School District, this podcast will introduce you to amazing students, dynamite teachers and brainy education experts. 

Kentwood — In this episode, “Study Hall” welcomes recent Crossroads Alternative High School graduate JB Barnes and his dad, Kevin Barnes. JB was recently featured as a Kentwood Public Schools Grad with Grit in School News Network because of his incredible academic turnaround — from nearly failing out of school to finishing his final semester with A’s and B’s. 

JB has sickle cell disease, which causes chronic pain and other complications. He was hospitalized frequently during his school years, causing him to fall behind in class. He also had major behavioral issues, and the pain didn’t help his mood.

JB moved in with his dad, Kevin, at age 14, and Kevin’s guidance and advice helped JB make better choices. The pace and one-on-one attention at Crossroads also eventually led to a “180-degree” change for JB, teachers said, and a new outlook on the future. 

Listen in as JB talks about why he made the changes he did, and Kevin Barnes talks about why it’s important to keep believing in your children and supporting their dreams. 

If you have ideas for future programs, feel free to send them to us at SNN@kentisd.org. Thanks for listening, and happy studying!

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