Wiley Alum and Former Gang Member Success Story

Date Posted: 11/10/2016

Wiley alum Tristan Love exemplifies the impact Wiley College has had on his life as he makes history as one of Houston ISD’s youngest assistant principals
At the age of 26, Tristan is living proof of the value of investing in the lives of young people. As one of the youngest assistant principals in the history of the Houston Independent School District, he can relate to the students and help them avoid the rough spots he experienced in his youth.
During his college years, Tristan, Class of 2012 at Wiley College, was a super star on the school’s famous debate team. However, until things turned around for him in college, he never dreamed his life would be filled with good news.
As a youngster growing up in central Houston, Tristan is quick to describe the continual pressure he felt to join a gang in order to protect his family and possessions. He was later kicked out of Lamar High School for fighting, so he ran away from home and roamed the streets. Faced with friends dying and other gang-related violence, Tristan moved in with his father and returned to school. After connecting with a program called Communities in School, his life took a turn for the better including the news of a full scholarship to Wiley.
Nowadays, Tristan is glad he can be transparent with the students about the importance of making good choices. He also provides a steady stream of encouragement to the college students that attempt to fill his shoes at Wiley.
Wiley’s Christopher Medina, Director of Forensics, is happy to see alumni succeed and continue to invest in the young. “Tristan was one of the re-founding members of The Great Debaters,” notes Christopher. “In 2008, he debated and was very successful and help to lay the foundation for where the team is now. Without his abilities, the team would not be nearly as successful today. He serves as a role model of what being a Great Debater is truly about. He stays in touch with team members encouraging them to be the best they can be.  We are blessed for him having been at Wiley.”
“Tristan is a born leader. He’s a bright, focused, and determined young man who, after living through the horrors of gang life and losing friends to the streets, embarked on a different path toward using his gifts and talents to better his life,” said Dr. Joseph L. Morale, Vice President for Student Affairs and Retention Services at Wiley College.  “An honor student who put his studies first, Tristan also enthusiastically embraced being active in campus life and the Student Government Association, where he served as SGA president during his senior year. Indeed, he thrived at Wiley and excelled in every way. ”
An Inspirational Turnaround
Wiley College considers Tristan among the school’s most cherished alums and role models -- with a list of accomplishments such as:

  • He was an honor student.
  • He served as Student Government Association President during his senior year.
  • Right before his graduation from Wiley College, he was awarded the President’s Medal of Honor, the highest award that a student can earn as a student leader. 
  • He was among 10 young people nationally to be honored for his community service and invited to speak at a U.S. Senate dinner.
Alvena Jones, director of alumni relations, is excited to share the news that Tristan was named Campus Teacher of the Year and soon thereafter, assistant principal at Sam Houston Math, Science and Technology Center High School—yet still in his mid 20s. “He is such a humble young man and a great representative of Wiley College.”
Houston’s Eyewitness News featured his inspirational story earlier this year.