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One teen’s journey from the margins to a college scholarship

Irlando Goncalves will be attending Union College.
Irlando Goncalves will be attending Union College.Yoon S. byun/Globe Staff

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For a time, Irlando Goncalves wanted to be “that dude,” the guy who got attention in school for all the wrong reasons.

He and his family lived on Hendry Street in Dorchester’s Bowdoin-Geneva neighborhood, a place thick with the pitfalls and snares of urban environs. He was skipping class, clowning around, mouthing off, and getting suspended, barely squeaking through middle school.

Then, one day during the summer before ninth grade, Goncalves decided to stop getting in trouble and “change people’s perspective of me.”

Now 18 years old, the senior at English High School has already won early admission to his top college choice — and with a full scholarship, no less — and is battling senioritis, as he counts the days until he can put high school in the rearview mirror.

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