A weekend interview with ...
... Tyler Radford, who until recently was a Land O'Lakes High School senior. Radford, 18, dropped out in the third quarter and got his GED instead. Now, as most of his friends and classmates head toward graduation, he just hangs around the school, lacking anything better to do. That's where he talked with reporter Jeff Solochek (and some other Land O'Lakes seniors).
"I was a semester away from graduating. Then I was like, I don't feel like it anymore," Radford explained.
So he stopped doing his work. "All of it," he said. Before long, Radford discovered that he needed to earn scores of more than 100 percent in every class if he was to receive the credits he needed for graduation.
Realizing the futility of the scenario, he walked away. Already, Radford sounds remorseful.
"I'm dumb," he said. "I got lazy."
With GED in hand, Radford has little in store. He didn't apply to any colleges - community, trade or otherwise - and he doesn't hold a full-time job.
What are his plans?
"That's the best part," he said. "I don't have any. Probably just skateboarding and living on minimum wage and stuff."
Senior Chad Habershaw, sitting nearby, suggested that Radford might have a tough time getting by.
"People do it every day," Radford replied.
It barely works for one, responded Habershaw, who plans to go to art school in the fall. What if Radford were to get into a relationship?
"I wasn't planning on having a family," answered Radford, who lives with his parents "at the moment" but didn't know how long that might last.
Another friend, senior Niko Monteiro, offered that Radford could crash with him - at least until Monteiro heads off to college in Tallahassee. After that, well, who knows?
Radford still considers himself part of the Class of 2008. He drops by from time to time to help with the yearbook, and keeps in touch with some favorite teachers.
But when it comes to graduation, he has no intention of showing up.
"It'd be like, Shoot, that's all my friends, and it's not me," he said.
"That's sad," said class valedictorian and friend Ana Hiller, who will attend the University of Florida.
"It is," Radford acknowledged. "But it's a harsh reality. It's not anyone's fault but my own."