School Climate & Safety Photo Essay

The Road Back

By Nicole Frugé — April 25, 2012 1 min read
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High school senior Deondre Davis flips on the trampoline at his girlfriend’s home in Cheyenne, Wyo. An ex-offender, Mr. Davis felt welcomed when he returned to his school in December. Other juvenile ex-offenders aren't so lucky.
Mr. Davis hugs his girlfriend, Alye Wagner, 14, between classes at Cheyenne Central High. A re-entry specialist from the school district works with the detention facility, the school, and the justice system to ease students back into school.
A tassel, which Cheyenne Central High School senior Deondre Davis plans on wearing when he graduates this May, hangs from the rearview mirror of his car.
Mr. Davis, who returned to Cheyenne Central High School in December after serving six months in juvenile detention, changes shoes after returning home from a strength-training session.
Mr. Davis leads his girlfriend's younger brother, Colin Wagner, through cardio- and weight-training exercises.
Mr. Davis works on a computer while working on a history project with his classmates.
Mr. Davis talks with his mother, Stephanie, at their home near downtown Cheyenne.
Mr. Davis lifts Madi Hastings into the air while playing with the tot in the backyard of his Cheyenne home. His mother, Stephanie, runs a small daycare from the family home and he had stepped in to help occupy the little girl, while her father made his way across town to pick her up.

Late for school and our meeting, Deondre “Dre” Davis arrived only after I sent him a few reminder texts. A major hurdle in documenting anyone’s life is to earn even the thinnest sliver of that person’s trust. It’s rare for folks to swing the door into their lives wide open. Thankfully, Dre, 17, a Wyoming high school senior, is one of those people who is willing to do so. We quickly made a connection and his natural calm allowed me to concentrate on accomplishing my assignment: capturing his life in less than 24 hours. Having his trust permitted me to travel the crowded halls of Cheyenne Central High School, past the walls of the classroom to focus on the moments and details of his life. —Nathan W. Armes

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A version of this article first appeared in the Full Frame blog.

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