Chris Taylor grew up in Toledo, Ohio. He graduated from Woodward High School after attending special education classes there.
He enrolled in Owens Community College after taking a tour of the campus with one of his instructors from high school. He didn't feel he was smart enough to belong in college and that he wasn't good enough. He quit attending and left, owing the College money.
He needed to earn a living and found that he could make money illegally, even though it never felt right to him. A child of drug addicts, Taylor knew the effect that sort of lifestyle could have on a person's life. After about six years and the birth of his first two children, he realized he wasn't serving as a role model for his kids.
"I realized this was the last thing I wanted for my son. Everything and everyone involved in my life was in jeopardy - I had to change," said Taylor.
He decided once and for all to end his illegal career and start fresh. He felt God had a bigger plan for him and that was why he had been able to stay safe and out of jail.
He found a job at a factory, worked hard and saved money. He was able to pay his debt to Owens and return to classes full time.
He excelled in his classes, earning a 3.29 GPA. After two years, he graduated with an associate's degree in business management, but that didn't end his time at Owens. He continued taking classes and is now in the power lineman program. He also ran for the position of Student Government President. He was able to run and win his campaign based on his life's motto - smile.
"It is a privilege to be around so many people who want to succeed. We all have a choice to be here and there is no reason not to smile about it," said Taylor.
This semester begins his term as president. He also served as a mentor this summer to first-year students at Owens, many who came from similar backgrounds.
He plans on finishing the lineman program, hopefully working for a local electrical company and then transferring to earn his bachelor's degree in professional sales.
In ten years, he hopes use his savings and his degrees to start a legal business of his own.
"A lot of my friends are coming to Owens now - they see my success and know they can do it too," said Taylor.