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For top student, "homework' has a slightly different ring

John Grazetti made the dean's list last semester at Jones College. He's a model student in sports broadcasting with a 3.5 grade point average. And he's homeless.

After a day of classes and studying, Grazetti spends his nights at the City Rescue Mission.

"I'm enjoying doing it," Grazetti, 28, said of school. "It's making me feel good about myself, which is something I haven't done since I was 18."

Grazetti attends classes twice a week, in the morning and at night. He catches a bus at 5:30 a.m. and returns to the shelter at 11 p.m. Between classes, he practices at the school's broadcasting studio.

"He's a model student. I wish there were some more like him," said Peter Trenkler, chairman of the broadcasting department.

Grazetti is paying for his education with a grant and a student loan, and said he feels set apart from other students.

"I feel a little out of place. I'm staying here while everybody else has a home," Grazetti said from the shelter.

But he's not giving up. He said he's the closest he has ever been to his lifelong dream _ becoming a sports announcer.

Adversity haunted Grazetti's childhood.

His said his father was an alcoholic who never worked. Grazetti took care of his brother and two sisters while the family lived off his mother's meager earnings as a bartender.

After graduating from high school, Grazetti attended West Virginia State College on money from the Jobs Corps. He planned to become an accountant, save some money and train as a sports announcer. After a few months, money ran out and he found accounting boring.

For four years, Grazetti worked in an adult bookstore. He began drinking heavily. He went through a recovery program, but in 1986 went on a drinking jag that landed him at a Los Angeles homeless shelter.

He's been in and out of shelters ever since.

Grazetti has nurtured his sports announcing dream since his childhood in Mount Pleasant, Pa., near Pittsburgh. He said he was a decent baseball player but wasn't good enough to play professionally.

Being a sports announcer is the next best thing, Grazetti said. His ultimate dream is to announce a World Series.

Grazetti hopes to receive his associate degree in broadcasting in April 1993.

"If something doesn't grab onto me like it has in the past, I think I can do it. I've never had this type of confidence before," he said.