SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A former gang member who turned his life around in stunning fashion just got accepted to four different universities, including UC Berkeley and UC San Diego.
10News first met Apollo in 2010, as he and several others went to court to get off a gang injunction list for an Oceanside street gang. An injunction prevents gang members from doing activities in certain areas, like associating with each other. At that time, Apollo told us he had been out of the gang for several years after four years inside as a teenager.
"What hurt the most is hurting my mother... You want to amount to something, so (when i decided to get out) I'm trying to do this for her," said Apollo.
Apollo was removed from the list about a year later, which is a rare feat. Among the requirements: written explanations, background checks, and approval from prosecutors and a judge.
Since then, he has gone on to Palomar College, earned awards at speech and debate competitions, and at the age of 30, he just got accepted to four schools, including UC Berkeley and UCSD. He's leaning towards Berkeley, though he isn't sure he can pay for it. He's hoping to have a career in communications or social welfare so that he can help his community.
"Sometimes I can't believe it and sometimes I feel I should be doing more. You want to leave something for them to look at, to hopefully inspire them to do more and succeed," said Apollo.
He does have a nagging worry. When he does internet searches, his name still appears on the original injunction list. He believes it could haunt him with future employers and during rental applications.
"It's demoralizing. It's about painting a picture or labeling someone. It's important and it matters," said Apollo.
10News reached out to the District Attorney's office, which told us they would look at the links and work with Apollo to remove his name.