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Learning To Move On Early In Life, Jerry Harris Is Ready For College

Lara Solt
Jerry Harris helps himself to dinner made by his mother, Susie Evans, at his home in Coppell.

Jerry Harris, 18, is a senior at Plainview High School in Ardmore. After his parents split years ago, he left Texas to live with his dad in Oklahoma. Jerry has gone through high school with a learning disability, but he's graduating on time at the end of May.

Jerry lives in southern Oklahoma, but he visits the brick Coppell home where he used to live with his sister Abbey and mom Susan Evans.

He's ready for college. He’ll attend the University of Oklahoma and can hardly wait to join a fraternity – like his parents and grandparents —  make new friends and take on tough pre-med classes.

Back in eighth grade, he was a gawky kid, dealing with a learning disability called dysgraphia. It interferes with the ability to write or print, to spell, and legibly put thoughts on paper. His obsession back then was basketball.

“It pretty much means everything," he says. "Like, if I go three days without playing, I’ll get the jitters. I’ll start bouncing a ball inside the house. I’ll get in trouble because I’m bouncing the ball so much.”

Sticking to mom’s highly organized rules helped 13-year-old Jerry stay out of trouble. She even made him sign a contract. For instance, if he didn’t help sister Abbey with school work, he could be grounded. Mom’s structure wasn’t all that chafed him. His parents’ divorce years earlier still hurt. In busy, suburban Coppell High, crowded with go-getter kids, he felt no freedom.

Read the entire story about Jerry — he's one of seven North Texas teens we've been following since 8th grade in our American Graduate series, Class of '17.

Bill Zeeble has been a full-time reporter at KERA since 1992, covering everything from medicine to the Mavericks and education to environmental issues.