KERSHAW -- The teenagers drifted into a conference room at North Central High on Monday, slinging off backpacks, and waited for Clifton Anderson's questions to begin.
"What are you doing? Staying out of trouble, I know."
"What organizations have you joined?"
Four years ago, Anderson, a retired mental health professional, pledged to the 10 that he would serve as a mentor, helping them navigate middle school. He has now extended that pledge to high school. One day, he hopes to see them off to college.
Twice a year, Anderson makes surprise visits to their school.
His connection to the students began when he came to Bethune Elementary in October 2004.
"I went out and talked about peer pressure and self-esteem," he said.
Justin Dunham, 14, remembered the class presented a play about bullying for Anderson.
Something clicked between Anderson and the students.
"He offered to come back and see us," Justin Dunham said, "and as a whole class, we accepted."