David Holly realized after spending 19 months in jail that he'd had enough of the hard life he had led for 15 years. The 37-year-old didn't want any more drugs, check fraud or living on the streets — and certainly no more jail cells.
When Holly was released in 2008, he immediately enrolled in City College of San Francisco. In 2011, he graduated with a 4.0 GPA. And just last month, he graduated from UC Berkeley — again with a 4.0 GPA. Holly has been accepted to a graduate program at Carnegie Mellon University where he will study urban history, focusing on The City's Tenderloin neighborhood.
"In truth, my dream was to get my doctorate and come back to teach at City College and give back that which was so richly given to me," Holly said.
However, that dream might never be realized. CCSF is mired in an accreditation fight and could close down in less than a year.
The college's closure report, which details how students will be provided for, makes no mention of saving the program for ex-offenders that brought Holly his successes. It also does not mention the dozens of other programs that provide de facto social services for San Francisco residents.