FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- From the streets of Los Angeles to Central Valley classrooms, a recent master's degree graduate is now sharing how education saved him from a life of gang crime and violence.
After two years of commuting back and forth from L.A. to Fresno several times a week for class. Trevor Brackett is now ready to counsel students toward getting their own diplomas.
Trevor Brackett's embrace with Fresno Pacific University President, Pete Menjares, took the crowd by surprise at his graduation ceremony on May 10. But, he has good reason to celebrate.
"Fresno Pacific has just been tremendous for me, to be honest with you," Brackett said. "It definitely transformed my life."
Brackett admits if not for his education, by now, he'd likely be the victim of gang violence, and possibly dead.
"I've seen murders, prostitution, drive-bys," he said. Brackett grew up in South Central Los Angeles, knowing nothing more than life on the streets, at one point even living in a car.
Eventually he played football at a community college and then the University of Nevada-Reno, ultimately realizing sports wasn't his calling.
The pursuit for him to find the greatest version of himself landed him in an unfamiliar setting, Southeast Fresno and in the office of Dr. Diane Talbot.
"He is just so dedicated to his family," said Dr. Diane Talbot, Ed.D. "He's one of the best Godly men that you would want to know. He wanted to do this master's degree to help others who were like him."
Three years ago Brackett chose the FPU campus, three to four days a week, and spent weekends in L.A. with his wife and kids.
"I said this is an opportunity that I have right now that I have to take advantage of," Brackett said.
His ultimate goal is to show at-risk student-athletes they can make it, too.
"He'll be a great asset anywhere he goes," Talbot said.
"Violence is not where it's at, education is where it's at," said Brackett. He also just found out he'll be a part-time counselor for at-risk students at Fresno City College.