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Philip says he first met Sidney Poitier backstage at a performance of The Lion King. "Someone dared me to go over and speak to him. I took note of the way he engaged me with grace and sincerity. In the brief moment, we talked about the impact of blacks in the theater and the awesome responsibility we have in being advocates for our likeness," Philip writes.

Eventually, Philip decided to return to school. He is now a volunteer teacher in New York City, where a debate over quality education rages. "I decided to go back to school because I wanted my life to be about more than waiting for the next 'big break' or chasing a dream where someone else gets to decide my full potential. It seems marginal in comparison, while kids around me are being denied access to an education that I walked away from," he says.

Sidney's book inspired Philip to be the best mentor he can be for his students, and he's assigned his class of inner city teen boys to read The Measure of a Man to inspire them as well.


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