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Changed ways for a fresh start

June 10, 2010

It took Michael Place four years to finish one at Ocean View High School.

The Alaska native had a rough time before enrolling at Ocean View, losing both of his parents and bouncing from one family member's home to another. During his first three years of high school, he landed in juvenile hall four times and often had to spend semesters at Valley Vista High School, the district's continuation campus, before he could return to Ocean View.

By his senior year, though, the 18-year-old vowed to change his ways. Over the last nine months, Place hit the books, played junior varsity football and studied martial arts. He was proud to complete a year at the same campus, he said, but felt frustrated by the lost time.

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Now, Place hopes to attend Orange Coast College, transfer to Cal State Long Beach and become an entrepreneur in real estate. When asked who inspired him most during high school, he had a ready answer.

"All of my teachers and all of the faculty," Place said. "If it wasn't for Ocean View, I wouldn't be where I am now."

— Michael Miller

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