At 15, high school sophomore Hatuey Rodriguez could spend his afternoons doing plenty of other things. Instead, each day, this aspiring photographer travels more than an hour from the leafy suburban enclave of Fort Lee, New Jersey to the gritty streets of South Bronx to box.
“I just want to be able to protect myself” he says. “A lot of kids in school are always starting trouble. I’m like ‘dude it’s Fort Lee, not Newark’. But suburban kids want to be tough.”
In addition to boxing, Hatuey studies the guitar and makes documentary films at the Maysles Institute in Harlem. “Knowing how to fight makes life easier” he says. “You don’t have to spend your time worrying about certain things, so you can just be yourself. Being cool in High School is not everything.”