The ups and downs of adolescence were amplified for Hosea Addison.
Shortly after he enrolled at St. Frances Academy in 2016, family challenges led him to move into its Father Joubert House, a residential life program for boys who are experiencing homelessness or are close to it.
Addison’s athletic career calls to mind Wide World of Sports’ “thrill of victory … and the agony of defeat.” He was a reserve linebacker on one of the nation’s best high school football teams, then one of the leaders of a winless baseball team that got outscored, 244-26.
“I’m reminded of the adage, about people quitting one step before success,” said Deacon B. Curtis Turner, the principal and head of school at St. Frances Academy. “Hosea will never quit before he experiences success.”
Addison will take his 3.3 grade point average and interest in business to Bowie State University. That’s heady stuff for one who saw many friends in Southwest Baltimore drop out of high school and turn to “selling drugs.”
He appeared destined to a similar fate as a freshman at a city public high school, as Addison said, “The only time I would go to school was on Thursdays, just to play football.”
His aptitude for the sport attracted him to St. Frances Academy, where he found himself behind bigger and better players, including Shane Lee, who will play for the University of Alabama.
“Life is going to be hard, it’s not going to be easy,” Addison was told.
He took that lesson into a baseball season in which his major accomplishment was striking out only two times. “It was harsh,” he said.
Addison kept plugging away for the Panthers, and, eventually, in the classroom.
“The more I mature,” he said, “the more I realize, I’ve got to do better.”
Addison’s mother, Tamika, attended graduation in a wheelchair because of health issues. He praises her example, and that of his mentors at St. Frances Academy: Karae Mosley, the technology coordinator, and Markette Williams, a math teacher. Deacon Turner noted that each is part of a husband-and-wife team at the school.
Both got Addison out of a “corner” and interacting in a more positive manner. What did they tell him?
“We’re not going to do that,” he said. “That’s not the St. Frances way.”
Email Paul McMullen at pmcmullen@CatholicReview.org