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05-12-03: Area student takes the alternative to better life
The Daily Standard
    Billy Mott believes all his trouble began in 1994 when he was 8 years old and his father was murdered on the sidewalk in front of the old Eagles lodge in Celina.
    "He was stabbed to death. But him dying didn't phase me so much because he was never really around. I only saw him when we went to his  house and then he wasn't sober except early in the morning. Then he'd start drinking again right after he got up," Mott, 17, told The Daily Standard last week.
    What Mott remembers most about his father's death was the teasing at school from the other kids.
    "They'd say 'who was stabbed today at your house?' or 'any stabbings lately?' It made me mad and I got into fights," said Mott, who has one full brother, two half-brothers, one half-sister and six stepbrothers.
    He was first expelled from school in the sixth grade after punching another kid who called his mom a name.
    "The kid got a concussion, but I'm not sure if it was the impact of my punch or that he fell against one of those big poles at the middle school," he said.
    Fighting and anger have been big players in the teen-ager's life, but with the help of alternative school programs and counseling, Mott says he's turning his life around.
    Mott soon will satisfy state high school graduation requirements thanks to the Mercer County Alternative Center.
    "Billy is one of 46 of our students who will complete credits for graduation and we may have seven more," said Matt Niekamp, alternative center director, adding the center has served a record number of 126 students this year.
    Niekamp said programs at the alternative center are designed for students identified as "highest risk to fail in school."
    "The nature of high risk youth means they appear more in the courtroom than in the classroom, get high on drugs instead of life, have children instead of living a childhood of their own," Niekamp said.
    Mott easily qualifies as high risk. With a rap sheet of 18 convictions, he has spent many hours in the courtroom and months in the juvenile detention and rehabilitation system, including a boot camp near Columbus.
    "Boot camp is state licensed and privately owned and operated by a retired Columbus police officer. It's run like military boot camp and provides intense discipline, which is exactly what these kids need," Mercer County probation officer Nick Schulze told The Daily Standard during an interview last week at Mott's home.
    "I've been Billy's P.O. for a long time and we've had our rough times. Billy's like a lot of kids who don't want to hear what you're telling them. They're angry and they don't want to accept responsibility for their actions," Schulze said looking at Mott who sat quietly and listened.
    Mott freely admits he has a problem dealing with his anger but court-ordered counseling has helped.
    "But, the counselors said I couldn't get off drugs by myself, but I proved them wrong. I just quit," he said as he bounced his 18-month-old son Hunter on his knee.
    Little Hunter, who looks a whole lot like his dad, has played the biggest part in Mott's efforts to take charge of his problems.
    "I was in jail when I found out he was on the way and got out right before he was born. I don't want him to grow up the same way I did, without a father. I want him to do good in school and go to college," Mott said.
    Before Hunter's arrival, Mott was dealing drugs, running with street kids in Dayton and living on his own.
    "Yeah, I was scared sometimes. Some guys I knew in Dayton got killed. But, when you're on drugs, you just don't give a s### ," he said.
    Now he says he's clean and doesn't miss the life on drugs.
    "I'm through with it and I told them (his drug connections) I'm not interested. What I was doing was stupid. I've learned a lot being in jail, on probation, running with drugs - learned what I don't want," he said.
    Schulze pointed out that when Mott's old buddies see him in the newspaper they could show up and try to get him back to his old life.
    "It could irk them you're doing well. Are you prepared for that?" Schulze asked.
    Mott said he's ready. "I'm more confident now about myself. I know I can look them in the eye and say 'I'm through,' " he said.
    Overall, Schulze believes Billy is a "success story in the making."
    "In just a short time he'll be off probation and he'll turn 18 this year. Then he'll be on his own. He's come a long way. I hope he doesn't turn back," Schulze said.
    The key at this point is employment, and Mott is confident he'll find something full-time.
    "I'm the first in my family to have a high school diploma, and that's gotta be a good start," he said.


Phone: (419)586-2371,   Fax: (419)586-6271
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P.O. Box 140, Celina, OH 45822