ROSLYN HEIGHTS, N.Y. -- Sixteen-year-old Jahquie Martin slowly made his way up to the microphone, clutching a few pieces of loose leaf in his right hand. Adjusting the mic with his free hand, Martin cautiously cleared his throat before speaking.

He began like any normal high school teenager would with a tense lump in his throat and growing beads of perspiration above his brow.

"My name is Jahquie Martin. I'm 16-years-old and from Bed Stuysvent, Brooklyn. I currently attend Boys and Girls High School,' he choked out.

Martin, far from normal as I would soon come to know, is, however, one of...

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