School resource officers continue to help, mentor former Chicago high school student now in college


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Thursday, December 15, 2022
School resource officers continue to help, mentor former Chicago high school student now in college
Two school resources officers continue to mentor and help a former Chicago high school student succeed, even as he goes to college.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Omarion James has come a long way from his days at Foreman High School, where he lost his sister and brother to gun violence.

He received a standing ovation for the Chicago City Council Wednesday as he rings the bell as a new freshman at Jacksonville State University this fall.

RELATED | Chicago high school athlete's bond with school resource officers helps clear path to college

He said none of it would be possible without the efforts of school resource officers who encouraged him to go to college, raised much of the money for his tuition and even drove him 11 hours to the school in Alabama.

"I would not be here without them. They played a big part in helping me keep focused, keeping me on track, keep a smile, stay positive," James said.

Since he's been at college, the officers have remained involved, checking up on him. They have also raised enough money to put him through all four years.

"Usually a weekly Facetime call on Kathy's phone in our police office. That's every week," said School Resource Officer John Bauer.

"I've been a little hard on him. Making sure he's doing his homework," said fellow School Resource officer Kathy Nowakowski.

Noting that the city's police officers have gotten a lot of negative attention recently, city council members passed a resolution honoring the two officers for their efforts.

"The police officers who have gone beyond the call of duty," Mayor Lori Lightfoot said.

"I'm sure John and Kathy will be his friends for life and follow him forever," added Alderman Nick Sposato, 38th Ward.

James was a standout athlete at Foreman and he's now student manager for the basketball team at Jacksonville State, and hoping to play next season.

RELATED: Chicago high school graduate leaves for college with CPD mentor

The officers and the school, in the meantime, are proud to see the example he's setting for other students coming up.

"I know he's gonna make a big impact with others and set a good example with the rest of our students," said Foreman Principal Anthony Escamilla.

Other city officials are now joining the officers' efforts to help James. In fact, he may be pretty busy this summer after Alderman Emma Mitts offered him an internship in her office.