LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Summer is calling and college will soon follow but first 18 year old Quion Lee wants to take in the memories as he walks the halls of Doss High School one more time.
"I wish the best for him because you know what I’m saying it's a world out there and we just got to learn how to maneuver to find our path to what we want to do to be successful and for him to know his purpose and fulfill it," Damon Butler said.
His mentor, Damon Butler, helped Quion at every turn during his four years Doss.
He says this building is where he became man but things didn't always look so bright for Quion.
"He would come in school and you'd be like what's wrong Quion so you could also just feel get that vibe that something was wrong," Butler said.
"I felt like my mom couldn't understand me. I'm in a house full of girls, I have four sisters no brothers. My cousins was always in the streets and every time I try to go with them they wouldn't let me go. It's like I'm fighting a battle to try and do something they won't allow me to do and when I come home there's nothing but problems, so I said listen I got to get away, so then I talked to my youth football coach and he said alright we will bring you over here," Quion Lee said.
"Pops" as Quion calls him is largely responsible for the man you see today and admits in the beginning it was tough.
"He was fighting some demons within himself. He was part of gangs, he was packing pistols, and fighting all the time. His temper was so short and that was something we had to work with because he’d shut down he’d get mad he’ll shut down the only thing he knew was too fight," Jermaine Bradley said.
Now ninth grade was filled with up and downs for Quion bit it was that sophomore year when things began to shift first physically then mentally. "
When I moved in with him he started taking me to church he got me baptized and stuff so that's when I started thinking OK this is a totally different lifestyle. I’ve never see a man go church, I’ve never seen a man own a business, I’ve never seen man take care of his kids. So to see my youth football coach this is totally different guy, everybody I see is trappin' trying to be a rapper and dropping out of school," Lee said.
"He looked at the world through eyes he only knew because he was product of his environment but once I showed him a different way and I grew up in the West End don’t get me wrong where I have seen a lot but my mom and dad are still married. They have been together 50 years so I had structure so once I was just showed him some structure and he wanted to do it himself. I said just give me the opportunity, he gave me the opportunity to help him change and he never wanted to look back from it," Bradley said.
Hanging out in streets and disrupting class were no longer options, Quion was on a mission.
By senior year titles like Class Vice-President, CEO of a student run photography business, and student ambassador followed.
"If I set an example it means that other people are going to what I do and people are going to look up to them and it’s going to be a chain reaction so I realize let me stop being the brat, let me start focusing up more and more in class talking and engaging," Lee said.
"His mentoring for other students those that’s been in the same situation as him as he has he has helped them so he’s no doubt a good leader a good mentor," Butler said.
He’s also earned a permanent place in Pop’s heart.
"You don’t always have to be blood to be considered family, you don’t always have to have a child to be family and that one thing I can say I look at him like he’s my biological son a gift that God put in my way and said hey this is a gift for you," Bradley said.
And that Doss pride is something Quoin will always carry close to his heart.
"You come here build up yourself, build up others and then come back to build the school; so I really love it," Lee said.
Quoin plans to attend college on an athletic scholarship and earn a marketing degree with a minor in finance.