Posted by Zack Smith - email
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - 16-year-old Richard Beldo is the oldest kid in class. He's in the eight grade at Alexander Graham Middle School, two years older than most of his classmates.
He repeated seventh grade twice, was recently homeless and admits he got in trouble a good bit.
Richard was on a destructive path.
"I'm the type to adapt to where I'm at. If I'm in a good environment, I'm good. If I'm in a bad environment, I'll be bad," he said.
He found that good environment at Alexander Graham Middle School.
His mother, Kim Patterson, says it's been "a blessing."
Language Arts teacher Melanie Dalton noticed a spark in Richard from the get-go.
"He has quite a presence. If you spend any time with Richard, you pick up on his presence," said Dalton.
The two formed a friendship and the end result is a very successful year.
Richard wrote a history rap on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., which took him all the way to state finals. His performance brought down the house, according to Dalton.
Richard also took home several awards.
Next year, he'll face new challenges at Myers Park High School.
"Looking back at my past, I'm doing better than I ever did," he said.