12 imagesLife for 17-year-old "Chunk," James to his family, is not easy. He lives with his mother, a six-year-old sister and two recently born twin boys. The family is on welfare and his stepfather has been jailed for drugs. As with many teens like him, the high school junior has difficulty getting a work or keeping a job. The lure of the gang lifestyle, with its drugs, money and sense of kinship, constantly tugs at him. Chunk feels the weight of the world on his shoulders, and feels it is getting heavier by the day. He sees his escape as when he graduates high school and attempts to join the Marine Corps.
12 imagesBefore the final day of classes at Grant Elementary School, Daniel Barajas, a sixth-grade student, waits to help students cross the street as part of his safety patrol responsibilities. The 112-year-old school is closing after the district decided it would be too expensive to overhaul. As everyone scurried to pack up their pens, papers and paintshirts, a thirdgrade student paused momentarily to listen to the faint sound of chimes. "I can hear the bell," she announced, a hint of sorrow in her voice. Silence immediately fell over the classroom as everyone stopped and turned toward the window. For a few seconds they all listened as the school bell continued to ring at somewhat even intervals. After 112 years, Grant Elementary School in Elgin wrapped up its final school year. The two story, red-brick building was tagged for closure five years ago by a team of building experts. Its cavernous basement and a difficult floor plan were deemed beyond repair or renovation. Students will be sent to neighboring schools instead. "It's old, but it's not like really trashy," fifth-grader Diana Tinajero said. "I've touched a lot of lives in here," said Shirlene Hogue, who began her teaching career at Grant 23 years ago. "I hope it's been a positive experience for them." — by Charla Brautigam.
12 imagesSpring training is a baseball ritual. Players and coaches, followed by a cadre of journalist and photographers—and a few fans—arrive and spend weeks in camps crashing for the start of the season. The Baltimore Orioles facility is in Sarasota, Fla., where they will spend time hitting, fielding and drilling, preparing minds and bodies for the long, arduous season. The Orioles' pitchers and catchers stretch and warm up before the second day of workouts at the Orioles spring training complex in Sarasota, Fla. The group arrives a few days before the rest of the position players to get a head start on the season.
7 imagesTwo nights of pure brawling in a small Southern Maine city by men who would be considered average by most standards. They mix together to box in an abnormal tournament. One fighter is a tombstone cutter. Another works in a tanning salon. A commercial pilot will fight a worker from a paper mill. Their goal is common-to stand in the artificial light of center ring and be named champion of the Sanford Toughman Contest.