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From the streets to the classroom

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From the streets to the classroom

New personal finance teacher, Mr.Trowbridge, enlightens students with real-world skills based on his experiences.

New personal finance teacher, Mr.Trowbridge, enlightens students with real-world skills based on his experiences.

Sarah Haggitt

New personal finance teacher, Mr.Trowbridge, enlightens students with real-world skills based on his experiences.

Sarah Haggitt

Sarah Haggitt

New personal finance teacher, Mr.Trowbridge, enlightens students with real-world skills based on his experiences.

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After battling bouts of anxiety and depression and dropping out of college, Mr. Trowbridge, commonly referred to as Mr. J-Mike, escaped the streets and became the new personal finance teacher. He began his first year teaching with a storytime for his students about how he was once homeless. Based on what he learned from the experience, Trowbridge disagrees with the popular belief that going to college is the only way to become successful.

Trowbridge dropped out of Arkansas State University in 2011 due to the stress and his disinterest in his studies.

He got fired from his part-time job at a movie theater, which left him unable to pay for utilities and rent. On his birthday, the lights went out in his apartment, and he lost his home. The search for a new job had begun.

“Nothing is more demoralizing than trying to apply for a job, and the most basic thing, which is an address, you can’t put down,” Trowbridge said.

Trowbridge was able to land a few restaurant jobs, but ultimately got laid off. After 10 months of sleeping in his car or on a friend’s couch, he secured a job, and his yearly salary went from nothing to about $34,000. There was still a remaining issue: Trowbridge felt as if his skills were being wasted.

“Don’t go to college unless you know that it’s going to help your skills,” Trowbridge said.

Trowbridge went back to college to become a teacher and to strengthen his life skills. He stresses to his students that going to college without pursuing your talents leads to an abundance of student debt and a job you can’t perform adequately.

“I never wanted to go to college, but now I know that I really don’t need to,” Catherine Hudspeth (10) said.

Trowbridge took a negative experience from his life and turned it into a lesson his students can use to reach success.

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From the streets to the classroom