Talon Cooper may look like the average kid from New Haven, but he has already traveled to Australia, New Zealand and Italy.
Cooper went to those countries and more with the People to People Ambassador Program from age five.
But his favorite location may surprise you. It’s Martha’s Vineyard.
“Martha’s Vineyard is beautiful, and I just love Massachusetts,’’ he said.
Cooper was born and raised in New Haven. He gets his name, which means “eagle claw,” from a male family tradition of taking his great-great-grandfather’s middle name, which has been passed on to each new generation.
The early part of Cooper’s childhood wasn’t very happy, he said.
“I had a lot of fun with my parents, but I was alone,’’ he said. Then his brother was born when he was six, and “it lightened things up for me.”
He described his brother as his best friend.
“We fight, but in a family way,’’ he said. “I can always hangout with him.”
When leaving eighth grade, Cooper dreamed of going to Career Magnet High School since it was one of the better New Haven high schools. But when he was told there was no space there and James Hillhouse High School was the only available school, he took an optimistic approach.
“Might as well make the best of your situation,’’ he said. “There isn’t really anything else you can do.”
Cooper used to play freshman basketball and baseball but is now seeking out other activities that can help find a career path. He is attending journalism programs at Yale University and the University of Connecticut this summer because he knew athletics was a long shot to success.
“Making the pros is like one in a million,’’ he said. “I’m good at writing, and I like sports. I know I can be a sports writer.”
He dreams of working for ESPN, but said if that didn’t work out, he would like to work for his local newspaper covering local sports.
Mahliek Crawford is a senior at the Hartford Journalism And Media Academy.