After watching many of his family members and friends get killed in gang turf wars, Terrell Ivey knew it was time to leave that life and pursue a different dream by making money the right way.
Ivey was introduced to the gang life by his older brother and cousins when he was 11 years old in Fort Pierce. But after moving to Buffalo, New York, to live with his mother, he began to see the worst that that life had to offer.
“I was always partying with drug dealers, and I was around a lot of shootings,” Ivey said. “I saw my best friend get shot and killed. It’s only so much you can take, once you see all your loved ones get hurt over nonsense like street names and colors.”
His eyes were opened more to the negativity of gang life, when on his 14th birthday, one of his cousins got arrested, and the police officers tried to involve him in the crime. Though both were ultimately cleared, Ivey was alarmed.
“That scared me,” Ivey added. “It wasn’t worth the money, anymore, that I was making in the street, which is every gangbanger’s goal. I figured I can start making money by pursuing a dream doing it the right way.”
After a year in Buffalo, Ivey’s mother sent him back to Florida to Daytona Beach, because life had gotten too dangerous for him, and she feared that he would eventually die or get seriously hurt, so Ivey started going to Seabreeze High School, where he met Pepper Johnson, the basketball coach.
“When I met and talked with Coach Johnson, he showed me that I was, now, in a better environment,” Ivey said, “I began to be thankful that I had left that gang life in Buffalo, and was surrounded by people who cared about me at Seabreeze.”
According to Ivey, Johnson said he would do everything in his power to make sure Ivey graduated and succeeded in life, and Johnson has been doing just that. Now a senior, Ivey has emerged into one of the area’s best basketball players, averaging over 18 points, seven rebounds and over two blocks per game, all in the Top 10, according to the Daytona Beach-News Journal’s area stats.
While Ivey has led Seabreeze to one of the best records in its district, his biggest accomplishment, thus far, came this past week, when he made the honor roll for the first time in his life.
“I felt amazing because I never thought I would be focused enough in school to get those grades,” Ivey said. “I took two honors courses and no electives, so I was excited to see myself reach one of the goals that I had established for my senior year. I had a 3.4 GPA.”
After celebrating for a moment, Ivey said that he immediately ran to show his coach, who has taught him how to carry himself and makes sure he stays out of trouble.
“We always joke around and talk about my grades, but when I showed him how I did, he just told me how proud he was of me,” Ivey said. “He reiterated to me how he knew I was capable of doing well in class and that now wasn’t the time to let up. I’m even more motivated to do well in school now.”
Though Ivey has come a long way from the gang life he was once entangled in, he’s not satisfied yet. He wants to get into college. With the help of his coach and his uncle, Steve Wilbon, who’s been one of his main supporters since coming back to Florida, Ivey has all the confidence in the world that they will be able to help him continue to pursue his dream, doing it the right way.