Sean Larry Rashad Stevens, a.k.a “Sean Larry” grew up in the NYC/NJ area in some of the most dangerous neighborhoods and poorest cities in the tri-state area. Born to a mother and a father that were never in his life, as the eldest child of over 8 siblings between his mother and father, he inherited the responsibility of leading his family. Surrounded by drugs, alcohol, and violence he decided as a young boy that his life would be different than any of his other family members.
Sean Larry was raised by his grandmother, Dorothy Stevens, who since birth has been the strongest and most supportive person to him. He was born into the Stevens family; a family unit both strong and broken simultaneously. Without a mother or father in his life, his grandmother, his uncle whom he admired as his father, and Belinda Daughtry (Aunt) gave their lives to raise he and his siblings. Attending marginalized urban schools, residing in Section 8 housing, and receiving welfare for the first eighteen years of his life, he continued to strive towards success. At the tender age of 11, he witnessed his first major tragedy with the death of his aunt. After many years of living in fear in the same household as his aunt, who was an early victim of the HIV virus, in 1998 full-blown AIDS invaded her body and the Lord took her home. Shortly after this event, his grandmother decided that we needed to a place more suitable for raising children.
A few years later, Sean Larry moved to Englewood, NJ, a city unlike anything that he had ever seen. Moving there was a complete culture shock because of the extravagant houses, expensive stores, and seemingly strong school systems. He attended Dwight-Morrow High school, one of the less challenging public high schools in the area for his freshman year. Shortly after, he decided that he wanted something more academically challenging when he found himself in the top 10% of his class without even trying. He applied to Dwight- Englewood, the school “on the other side of the tracks,” where very few African Americans attended; especially those of low socioeconomic status as he and his family were still on welfare and in Section 8 housing. Surprisingly, he got accepted contingent upon him repeating the 9th grade because what he had been learning at Dwight-Morrow not at the rigor of Dwight Englewood’s curriculum. Despite his intense refusal to attend the school, his uncle, aunt, and grandmother made it clear that it wasn’t an option but an opportunity.
On Thanksgiving Day, November 28th, 2002 and only two months into his new high school environment, Sean Larry was in a terrible car accident where he lost his Uncle, Lamont Stevens who was 27 years old. Lamont died as Sean Larry held him in his arms on the New Jersey turnpike after a hit and run accident. This event would change his family’s lives forever.
Eventually, Sean Larry graduated from Dwight-Englewood Upper School and attended Cornell University where he graduated on May 30th, 2010. He then joined the national movement, Teach for America. He has come a long way and works throughout inner city schools speaking to young black men and women about their futures and consequently helping them achieve their dreams.
Sean Larry is a living example of someone who “played with the hand he was dealt” and battled the curve balls life has thrown at him. He is a motivational speaker, a self-taught musician, and currently writing three books. He also plans on attending Columbia University, to obtain his Doctorate in Educational Leadership. Most recently, his plans to start a lounge in New Jersey called Formula 22, Inc. and a nonprofit in NYC called Phoundations of Brothers and Sisters Through Writing, Inc. have finally come to fruition.
Follow him on Twitter: @SeanLarryRashad @Formula22 and @Formula22Inc