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“The Long Arm of Childhood: How Chronic Stress Impacts Oakland Teens in Body and Mind,” a three-part series published in the Oakland Tribune, May 31, June 1 and June 2, 2011. A project for The California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships, a program of the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism at the University of Southern California.

Torrance Hampton, 18, of East Oakland. Photo by Jane Tyska/Oakland Tribune.

From the story:

It was at the funeral of the boy he wanted to graduate with that Torrance Hampton finally cracked.

Standing near the altar, he thought hard about what to say. Both seniors, Torrance and Marquis Woolfolk had bonded instantly in September, sharing laughs and stories and hopes. Both had survived wild times and poor choices.

Now both were determined to graduate.

For three months, they stayed after school, working hard to make up the classes they’d missed.

In fact, the Friday before Thanksgiving, Torrance and Marquis had traded high-fives after turning in assignments that earned them three credits each toward graduation.

“Man,” Marquis had said, “I think we’re going make it.”

Two days later, he was one of four boys shot as they stood on the porch of an East Oakland house. The other two were treated at Highland Hospital. Marquis died in the ambulance.

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