It was 12 years ago, when Byron Ellis was a senior All-City running back at Venice High, that I wrote a column about him.
"Ellis is the reason coaches coach and teachers teach. Everything about him is inspirational."
He was a straight-A student smart enough to attend Harvard or Yale but good enough in football that he signed with Colorado. He dreamed of playing in the NFL, but he had a fall-back position: doctor.
"You know how kids are forced to go to high school," he said. "I want to go where kids want to learn."
Over this past weekend, he graduated from medical school and will begin training to be an orthopedic surgeon.
"It's an incredible story," Venice Coach Angelo Gasca said. "I couldn't be more proud. For a guy to become an orthopedic surgeon who grew up in the Mar Vista Gardens housing project is an amazing story. Nothing he accomplishes surprises me. He's always been that way. He's an awesome kid."
"Every day, they say, 'Byron, how do you do it?' You have to keep working hard."