Mentor keeps slain teen's name alive with award

STEVEN M. FALK / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Patricia Thomas, Tremaine Rogers' foster mother, and Tremaine's brother Aaron in a photo from last summer after the teen was killed.
STEVEN M. FALK / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Patricia Thomas, Tremaine Rogers' foster mother, and Tremaine's brother Aaron in a photo from last summer after the teen was killed.
Posted: June 20, 2014

WHEN the Daily News profiled 17-year-old Tremaine Rogers, whose senseless slaying in Philadelphia was overshadowed last year by the verdict in the Trayvon Martin case, we wrote: "Politicians didn't take notice, no one held a rally in protest and only those who knew him will remember his name."

But now, Rogers' mentor at the Sankofa Passages Program is making sure his name will live on by presenting a graduating senior in the program today with the first ever Tremaine Rogers Award.

Rogers' mentor, Kenyatta McKinney, said he often tells the boys in his program about Rogers' life and death. He said he wanted to create the award to motivate other young men.

"I also feel like it's a good way to show respect to anyone who cared about him by not letting his name die," McKinney said.

Rogers was shot to death while playing basketball with his brother about 4 p.m. July 13 outside the Overbrook home where they lived with their foster mother. He was not believed to be the intended target of the shooting. Two men - Tyreek Hall, 26, of 54th Street near Florence Avenue, and Robert Anderson, 28, of Morris Street near 18th - were charged in the slaying.

Rogers' killing and the slayings of seven other men were largely overshadowed by the not-guilty verdict in the Martin case in Florida that weekend. About a week later, the Daily News profiled Rogers and the other seven men in an award-winning package titled "Forgotten."

McKinney first met Rogers when Rogers enrolled at Philadelphia Learning Academy South in West Philly and was referred to the Sankofa Passages Program, an initiative of the Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color that works with at-risk youth and pushes them to pursue a secondary education.

McKinney recalls Rogers' desire to attend Brown University or Indiana University of Pennsylvania, his love for his family and his 3.3 grade-point average.

He said the Tremaine Rogers Award will be presented to a student who shares three of Rogers' characteristics: a quiet demeanor, academic excellence and a goal-oriented attitude.

The award will be presented to senior Matthew Miles at 6 tonight when seniors from Philadelphia Learning Academy South and North graduate at Benjamin Franklin High School.

Miles has been on the honor roll all year and will attend the Community College of Philadelphia this fall, McKinney said.


On Twitter: @FarFarrAway

Online: ph.ly/crime

Blog: ph.ly/Delco

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