MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - Students at Southwest High School in Macon attended an assembly Tuesday morning, to learn the importance of making good decisions in life and treating one another with respect.
James Cooper, the founder and CEO of a group known as FEDUP-4U told the students about his life and the choices he made. Cooper told the kids about his role with a street gang and selling drugs, and how it landed him in prison for nine and a half years. He also spoke on the importance of completing education and trying to learn something while in high school, and continuing on with a college education.
He even used music from different generations to make a point about the importance of treating each other with respect, because at the end of the day, we're all human.
Cooper said since he got out of prison, he and his son have been traveling the east coast and telling kids their story of overcoming the hardships of life and working to make a better life for themselves. He also made it clear that making bad decisions in life can affect anyone in any social circle.
"At the end of the day, if I was brought up in a great environment at home, and somebody else is brought up in a misguided environment, they are still going to play sports together. They are still going to be in the same school. They are still going to be in Wal-Mart together. So I believe in touching everyone with a message," Cooper said.
Cooper and his son Jaquan have been traveling and bringing this message to schools since 2009. Part of their story together is that Jaquan was born while James was selling drugs and Jaquan's mother was in jail. Only a couple of weeks before Jaquan graduated high school, he was caught dealing drugs.
It was at that point, James and his son decided to turn their lives around and try to do some good for others. Now, nearly four years later they have been to more than 70 schools in four different states, sharing their story of triumph.