"If anybody wants to be 'cool' the best way to do it is just to hit those books and stay in school," Dameron said.
To reach high school, and to find himself at the doorstep of a college career with a full scholarship, Bryan traveled from a very different path, one that could have led to very negative results.
"I was smoking weed. I was selling it, you know, just a lot of things that weren't me," said Dameron.
As a younger teen in Michigan, Bryan was mentored by Shawn Blanchard, who was then a university student. Shawn graduated and became a teacher at Rucker. When he left Michigan, Bryan's life went downhill.
"His focus was really off at the time and he was so just bogged down with the whole thing about girls and only wanted to hang out with certain people that were not going in the right direction," said Blanchard.
Blanchard soon got a phone call from Dameron's family, leading to a decision for Bryan to come to New York.
"He wasn't a bad student, he had bad habits, and so the thing is he understood to get where he wanted to be, he saw the type of habits that he had to have," said Blanchard.
Rucker High was named after a respected Harlem educator. His grandson Sharif Rucker, the school's founding principal, says Bryan sets a good example.
"I think many students are going to look at him as a model of what they can become," said Rucker.
"I want to be like a symbol of anybody who can bounce back from any hard times they've had to go through in their lives," said Dameron.