Teacher helps students get a second chance

11:09 AM, Feb 18, 2013   |    comments
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STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. -- During a class in mass media at Elizabeth Andrews High School, teacher Christopher Cave reads a newspaper article about a 2003 murder in Atlanta where a young woman was killed by her abusive boyfriend.

It leads to a discussion on dating abuse and domestic violence.

Soon, one student talks about a brother killed because of domestic violence; another lost a friend because of it. Cave encourages the teens to discuss their personal experiences.

"I want them to learn life lessons," Cave said. "A lot of times they come to class or they sit in class and they don't really identify with what the teacher is telling them."

These students in particular -- Elizabeth Andrews High is an alternative school, for those who dropped out or couldn't make it in other schools.

"This is like your second chance school. You have the opportunity to now make up your grades. You have the opportunity to now graduate," Cave tells his students.

Cave, a former radio DJ and talk show host, chose to come here and he's admired by his peers for how he helps students.

"They are able to gain insight into some of the decisions they've made, good and bad, and it seems like he's leading them into taking pieces from all of their experiences and uses it toward a better future," said Valencia Riley, an English teacher who works on the same hallway as Cave and nominated him for 11Alive's Class Act Award.

"He's a great teacher. I wish I'd had him a long time ago," said student Joseph Wingfield. "All through my past, they say the Lord tries to find a way to talk to you, and that was my way right there,"

"He'll actually take you out of class and scold you, but unlike most teachers he'll actually tell you how to be a better person," said student Omar Tune.

Another student, Carl Leaks, said Cave served as part of his motivation to want to finish school "when I was giving up hope."

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