How this eSN Hero Awards winner helps at-risk students turn their lives around

Through her work in a specialized learning center, this educator's dedication to helping troubled students sets her apart

Preston Westbrook, who graduated from Linda Tutt in May, still volunteers at the store, having found a sense of purpose through his work there. When he first transferred to the school, he had severe anger issues stemming from abuse and an unstable home life, including 26 foster homes. He often ran onto the roof of the school to escape, telling CBS News Dallas, “That’s how I’d get away from people when I would get mad.”

He credits Ann and the programs at Linda Tutt with helping him through those dark times.

“”I’ve ripped off door hinges when I was 9. I’ve punched holes through doors,” Preston told the station. “Without Ann, I wouldn’t be here . . . she understood what I went through.”

Students like Preston, who were on track to drop out of school or had tantrums and threw trash at teachers, have gone on to attend college and cultivate successful careers. They learn important life skills while uncovering their own value as a person. All because Ann “bet big” on them.

As Ann’s colleagues recently told the Houston Chronicle, she is “a dealer of hope.”

Ripple Effects is proud to nominate Ann as a K-12 Hero for her unwavering dedication and creativity. While she may not wear a cape, she rescues students every day.

Laura Ascione

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