In the middle of his high school career, Northside senior Blake Eason chose a different road, and it’s made all the difference.
Eason will graduate with a 3.0 grade-point average on his way to Kennesaw State, but just a couple years ago, he was on the fast track to alternative school.
“Sophomore year was, by far, my worst year in high school,” Eason said. “I was in the office every other week it seemed like.”
The trouble actually began his freshman year. Trying to fit in, he got involved with a group of friends that enabled disruptive behavior.
He didn’t get in much trouble in the ninth grade, but the next school year, Eason began to disrupt class and “just not do the right thing” to the point that he required discipline.
“Eventually, the little stuff adds up to big stuff over time,” he said.
That led to a “behavior contract” in the second semester of Eason’s sophomore year, which meant he had to follow a set of behavior guidelines or risk being sent to Crossroads, Houston County’s alternative school.
“That was kind of like an eye-opener to me,” he said.
At the same time, Eason’s home situation was far from stable. He had been moved to live with his father by the Department of Family and Child Services because his mother, Paige Eason, was battling an addiction.
“My whole world spun out of control,” she said. “Once I lost him, I made up my mind to go to rehab.”
Eason didn’t fault his father, Bucky Eason, but said he wasn’t aware of everything that was going on at school. His mother’s strength served as an inspiration.
“If she can go get rid of this addiction ... the littlest thing I can do for her is do well in school,” he said.
Eason got a job and also got involved in school. He joined organizations and won a class office. An early highlight was getting a lead role in Northside’s state championship One Act production of “The Music Man.”
“That was a confidence booster,” he said. “If I just put forth the effort, good things can happen.”
Then in March, the former troublemaker was crowned Mr. Northside, an accolade he described as “the big thing as a senior guy” at the school.
“I thought that was pretty cool with the background that I have,” he said.
Eason wants to study to be a math teacher, with the goal of becoming an assistant principal who handles discipline cases. He thinks his own struggles will help him identify with students.
His mom was pleased that he chose to take the higher road for himself.
“I’m so proud of him and the decisions that he makes,” she said. “The things I did, I don’t think he wanted to go down that path.”
To contact writer Jeremy Timmerman, call 744-4331.