Atlanta native Chelesa Fearce is living proof that you can rise above your circumstances and overcome the odds. Despite battling homelessness throughout her high school years, she went on to be named valedictorian of her class, graduated from Spelman College and is now a student at Yale University, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
Fearce says her experience with homelessness instilled values that she has taken with her throughout every stage of her life. “Homelessness taught me how to work hard, always persevere and never let anything get in my way,” she told the news outlet. “It really helped show my resilience when I applied for college and medical school.”
Fearce and her family have been dedicated to paying it forward and helping those in need. There was a scholarship named in her honor for homeless students determined to further their education. Her mother Reenita Shepherd has become the foster parent of four children and is currently serving as a caretaker for a former homeless shelter director.