Ever since leaving the tennis court, Andre has focused on doing something he finds even more rewarding—giving. "Tennis was an opportunity for me to affect people for two hours, you know? But what I care about now is the chance of affecting somebody for a lifetime," Andre says.
In 2001, Andre founded the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy, a charter school located in an economically challenged area of Las Vegas, his hometown. The state-of-the-art school is equipped with a medical clinic and fitness center, which Andre says is a way of reminding the kids how to care for themselves.
Students at the school must abide by a Code of Respect, and everyone must sign a contract. He says the parents commit to reading to their children each night and sign off on every homework assignment. "This school isn't just about education," Andre says. "It's about self-respect, holding your head up high, taking ownership of your life."
Brandon, a 16-year-old sophomore at the school, and his brother are being raised by a single mom, while his father is in jail. "When [Brandon] started here, he was very quiet," his mom says. "Within about a year, he went the complete opposite direction. I've had teachers call me and say, 'What happened to Brandon?' I am eternally grateful to Andre for what he's done."
Andre cannot wait to watch the first graduating class go to college—and he's building a bridge for graduation day. "As they go across, they're going to unveil where it is they're going to college," Andre says. "And for that moment, every child down there is going to look up and say, 'That's the walk I want to take. I have to make that walk.'"