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'Keys to Life' | New after-school program teaching high schoolers trades

The after-school trade program will teach students how basic math and even science can be applied to a workable skill.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A new after-school trade program, Your Keys To Life, is coming to the Bluff City. Local teacher Eric Winfrey is providing an after-school option for high school students.

"Everybody kept complaining, and I was one of the complainers, and I had to do a self-reflection," Winfrey said. "[I had to] look in the mirror and I figured, instead of being a part of the problem—complaining—why not do something to help the problem or solve the problem?"   

At "Keys to Life," Winfrey hopes to introduce manual skills to 10th through 12th graders at 3639 New Getwell Road (site #15). The program will show how basic math and even science can be applied to a workable skill.   

"I've been teaching about 18 years now, so now it's at the point where I need to do more for the children and more for society," Winfrey said. "Now I see a lot of the kids grasping for something, and they don't know what they're grasping for, so they need more keys." 

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According to data from the state of Tennessee and the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, 47.2% percent of students are opting out of higher education. 

Winfrey hopes that this program that is equipped with classrooms, a computer lab, and construction workstations that Winfrey says will give students options or as he says "keys" that will open the door to greater opportunity in life and blue-collar business.     

"In order to change that narrative, sometimes we need to change the writer of that narrative," Winfrey said. "I'm trying to be the writer that's changing the narrative now."

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