by Sherry Hu and Briana Keys

OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — It’s not often you hear a student say he can’t wait for a calculus test.  But Stephen Carroll, SRA Class of 2018, enjoys math “because it always has a solution no matter how hard the problem.”

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Not only math, the senior at Envision Academy in Oakland, has learned to find solutions for the hard problems in his life.

“In a good way, I’ve become resilient and ambitious, because I’ve been going through these challenges”.

The challenges he faces are mostly at home.  For the first time in years, Stephen says his dad, brother and he are together again under one roof.  While in high school, they had no place to call their own and stayed with family and friends.

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Stephen remembered what it was to move “whenever I get into a place, instead of thinking ‘oh this place is nice,’ I was like, ‘cool, I wonder how long I’m staying here.’”

“For them to have gone through that really worried me,” said Stephen’s father, Joe Carroll. “Because I even slept in my van for a while, and put them in a friend’s house and put my van in the driveway.”

That was then and this is now. Stephen now has his own desk and a place to study.

Brayan Corona, the Youth Law Academy program coordinator and Stephen’s mentor, thinks having a place of his own “will be a force multiplier for his academics, his leadership and his personal growth.”

Stephen likes to say he’s really “into” his education.  He’s applying to private colleges on the East Coast, to meet new people, gain new perspectives and find a new home, away from home.  That’s because he believes he has a plan. “I’m going somewhere, and I’m excited and eager to see where I’m going,” he said.

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His dad agreed.  “[Stephen is] ready for the world, he doesn’t worry me at all because I’m confident he’s going to make the right choices.”