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Shooting death of friend spurs Idyllwild teen to turn life around

By in Press Enterprise on November 1, 2017

By Diane A. Rhodes

It took a dark tragedy for Sean Garrett to see the light but the death of his friend in November of 2016 was a wake-up call that motivated him to go from being an “F student to Student of the Month.” The ACE Academy student was recently honored by the Hemet/San Jacinto Unified School Districts at their breakfast program that recognizes local students for overcoming adversity and/or personal struggles in order to shine.

“Once I got into middle school, I had trouble,” said Sean, 17. “I got involved with (prescription) drugs and alcohol and would rather get a high than pass classes. I barely went to school and when I was there, I didn’t try.”

He attended Hemet High School for two years before transferring to ACE (Accelerated Core Education) Academy. It is a program at Helen Hunt Jackson College Prep High School, a Hemet Unified School District alternative high school.

“My parents tried to get me more interested in school but I thought they didn’t know anything, so I didn’t listen,” Sean said.

He had planned to join the military but when he realized he needed a high school diploma to enlist, he gave up on that goal, too.

Sean says the shooting death of a friend he knew since first grade was an eye-opener.

“I didn’t want to end up like him,” he said. “After that happened, I just decided to change myself. I really tried to do good in school and when it got hard, I kept going.”

Sean now sees the light at the end of the tunnel with less than 70 credits needed to graduate. He completes about 10 per month at ACE Academy.

“I learn on a computer at my own pace and have teachers to help me if I need it; I needed that one-on-one teaching,” Sean said. “I like that […]    

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