Anyone who was at last Friday’s East Boston High School (EBHS) graduation at East Boston Memorial Stadium saw an overjoyed Richard Bynum walk onto the stage with his 2-year-old daughter, Zamyrah, and accept his high school
Bynam’s story is one that is truly inspiring and while we usually report on those who easily succeed academically in high school, it’s stories like Bynam’s that need to be told.
By his own admission Bynam had an ‘I don’t care’ attitude since he was a young boy because, he said, there was nobody around that really cared or worried about him when he was growing up.
He had a rocky start to high school. Bynam got in trouble, skipped school and was heading down the wrong path.
However, when Bynam was a sophomore and turned 16 his whole life changed with the birth of his daughter, Zamyrah.
“He was in my Creative Writing class and he wrote beautifully,” said his teacher Lauren Owens. “He had a baby in his sophomore year, and it changed him. He became much more focused and dedicated to his work.”
While becoming a teen parent might derail most, the birth of his daughter put Bynam on the path to success. He realized, above all else, his mission in life was to keep his daughter safe and send her down the right path to be successful.
The only way Bynam could see his daughter being a success in life was to first be a success himself.
He excelled in his studies, became a natural leader on both the basketball court and the football field and became one of the most beloved and popular students at East Boston High.
“He always made a point to use his popularity to include everyone…he looked out for those who needed help,” said Owens.
By his senior year Bynam was doing everything right and, teacher TianaTassinari’s College English class, penned his college essay.
Bynam chose to make his essay a letter to his 2-year-old daughter.
“Zamyrah, my daughter, you are 2-years-old now, and you have not yet seen the horrors that this world can bring to a person. Since you came into my life, I realized that my attitude needed to change, especially the way that I carry myself,” he wrote. “I understand that it is not all about me anymore.”
Bynam went on, “Zamyrah, you were just the person I needed in my life. Everyday making sure your dad is okay, and only being two years old. I ask myself all the time, “What if I did not have my daughter?” I would probably still be getting into trouble, not going to school, or doing anything. I am 18 years old, basically a grown man, who is aware that you are looking up at me wondering how to act and how to live.”
Bynam wrote that he has realized that we see kids around us who all want somebody there for them; they need someone there for them.
“Zamyrah, I want you to know that your dad will never leave you by yourself because that was me once- a small child, only wanting his dad,” he wrote. “The attitude I used to have was terrible, but once you came into this world I had to change. Children look at their parents for guidance through this world. They need to be loved and feel safe. Zamyrah, you have changed me to the point where I feel like I am a young man doing things most real men cannot do. I am proud to be your dad, Zamyrah, because you make me a better person.”
Bynam ended his senior year with the EBHS Ronnie Woods Memorial Academic Scholarship; the EBHS Rocky and Joey DiNicola Memorial Award Athletic Scholarship for Outstanding Senior Football Player; and a scholarship to Newbury College where he will begin his college career in the fall.
“He is literally the best kid,” said Tassinari.
With his daughter by his side walking the stage during last Friday’s EBHS’s commencement it seems the sky’s the limit for Richard and Zamyrah Bynum.