It was a very special day for the sixth, seventh and eighth grade students at the Perry School last Wednesday, as they were treated to a personal presentation by Boston Police Commissioner William Evans. Commissioner Evans returned to his roots to share, specifically with these children of an impressionable age, his story of overcoming adversity and achieving success.

The commissioner was introduced to the students by k1 teacher Judy Nee. Ms. Nee relayed how she knew many of the students from the time they were four-year-old babies and that she, and the rest of the Perry staff, consider them family. She made it clear that she hoped the honest words they were about to hear from this good, strong leader would positively influence their choices in the years ahead.

Commissioner Evans began by somberly recalling the losses of both his parents and brother at a very young age and how he was raised by his older brothers. He went on to say that he considers himself lucky to have had people in his life that made sure he was clothed and fed and, with the help of a local priest, he was enrolled in a private school on full scholarship. While he didn’t consider himself bright enough to be there, he learned how to study, thereby beginning a lifelong habit of hard work and focus.

Commissioner Evans impressed upon the students that there are far more opportunities in life for them than there were for him when growing up. All professions should be considered within their reach with hard work. He also emphasized fitness as a way to stay focused and healthy. Evans is somewhat of a legend in local circles when it comes to running, having just completed his 79th marathon.

Boston Public School Superintendant Tommy Chang closed out the session reminding the students that this was a gift they were receiving, to have such close personal contact with a Police Commissioner of a major city. They would be sure to remember it for years to come.

Latoya Edwards from NECN interviewed many of the children afterwards for her segment Top Cop, which appeared Monday, Jan. 25. It was immediately apparent the students were moved and inspired by their morning with the commissioner.

Judith Nee is a teacher at the Perry School. Photos courtesy of the Boston Police Department.

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