Freeport school gives underprivileged boys opportunities to succeed

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FREEPORT -

A school in Freeport is giving underprivileged children an opportunity to succeed - despite challenges and hardships.

Inside the De La Salle School in Freeport there’s a mantra they recite every day, in hopes it will shape the boys into what the school calls a “De La Salle gentleman.”

Only 72 students attend the small, all boys Catholic middle school, and children can only be accepted if their family is at or below the poverty line. About 98 percent of them are minorities from urban neighborhoods

Most of the kids live in communities like Hempstead, which at times is plagued with drugs gangs and violence. Some would say it's easy for them to succumb to peer pressure, but it's what they learn at the De La Salle School that gives them a fighting chance.

Students Christian Cantor and John Velasquez, both 12 years old, say they see the violence and gang influence in their community, but say their connection to the school keeps them on the right path. 

School officials say they hope to keep providing a high quality education even beyond the classroom.

Joan MacNaughton, of the De La Salle School, says, “They’re learning social graces, they're learning things that they never had exposure to. We are able to help these boys achieve so much in their lives and go on to wonderful schools.”

The school asks students' families for $80 a month only if they can afford it, otherwise tuition is free.

The money they need to run the school comes from fundraising events, alumni and grants

In the 16 years the school has been running, all of the boys have graduated and most go on to other Catholic high schools.

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