Franc Owens has a lot of ground to make up. At 16, he committed a robbery and spent 20 months in a juvenile center. He emerged determined to turn his life around — and is doing that at Miami-Dade Acceleration Academies.
“That’s the past, says Franc, now 20. “My head’s on straight now.”
After his release from custody, he got a job in the warehouse at Barking Buddha Pet Products not far from MDAA’s Homestead campus. He needs the income to support himself and says the school’s flexible scheduling allows him to not only work but also to pursue his studies.
“That helps a lot because at home I can work on my course when I get off,” he says.
The new path Franc has chosen is far from easy. In addition to the challenges of balancing work and school, he has been working with a speech pathologist to overcome his stutter. But it’s worth it, he says, to build a future not only for himself, but also for his baby daughter, Faith.
Pulling out a phone, the proud dad displays a picture. He declares, “She is adorable.”
Franc is excelling at his studies and well on his way to a high school diploma, says career and life coach Deborah Ginsberg. “He’s come a really, really long way in his short time here.”
Franc returns the praise. “She keeps my head straight, keeps me motivated to graduate,” he says, smiling at his coach. “She’s helped me a lot.”
“You’re going to make me cry,” she replies.
After graduation, Franc hopes to build a career in law enforcement. “This may sound crazy coming from me, but I want to be a cop” — hopefully to help other young people avoid the mistakes he made. He’d also like to send a message to his baby girl.
“Try to learn from your mistakes,” he will tell her. “Don’t be a follower. Have your own mind.”