Teen Becomes Valedictorian After Being Homeless for Most of HS Career

BY: - 27 May '13 | On the Web

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She often studied by the light of her cell phone when the lights went out in the homeless shelters where she and her family were living. At times, they slept in the family car when they had one. However, this didn’t stop high school student, Chelesa Fearce, from graduating with a 4.466 G.P.A.

Hotels, short-term rented apartments and shelters became off and on homes for Fearce, her three siblings and their mother, Reenita Shepard. Despite their circumstances, she was determined to create a better future.

“I would just pray,” Fearce told ABCNews.com. “My mom, whenever we’re in that situation, she always finds a way out of it. So I would just tell myself, tomorrow it will not be like this, so take your time, do what you have to do now, so that you get the future that you want tomorrow.”

On May 23, Fearce graduated as valedictorian of Charles Drew High School in Riverdale, Ga. Her mother explained to ABC News that she read to her children often, took them to the library and that everything around her was a learning experience. Chelesa’s  18 year old sister graduated from George Washington Carver High School in Atlanta as salutatorian the same week.

Fearce’s SAT score of 1900  made her eligible to take college courses her last two years of high school enabling her to enter Spelman College in the fall as a college junior. She wants to be an oncologist when she’s older.

“Chelesa is an outstanding young lady. She’s very conscientious, always going over and beyond and is a very humble young lady,” Fearce’s school counselor, Razelda Killen, told ABCNews.com.

Read more on ABC’s website.

About the author

Stacie Bailey wrote 160 articles on this blog.

Stacie Bailey is a graduate of Quinnipiac University with a master's degree in Interactive Communications. She has strong interests in youth, social media and an overall love for sharing knowledge and information.

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Philadelphia’s Priorities: Does Philly Prefer Prisons Over Schools?

BY: - 7 Jun '13 | On the Web

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Due to budget cuts and a debt of $304 million, the Pennsylvania School Reform Commission voted on June 1 to close 23 Philadelphia public schools. This will lead to almost 3,000 jobs lost, numerous students without resources such as textbooks, extra-curricular activities, and even administration positions like assistant principals, librarians, and counselors. On the other hand, the city found enough money to fund a prison project with the price tag of $400 million, “the second-most expensive state project ever.”

State Correctional Institutions Phoenix I and II (yes, two facilities), is scheduled to be completed in 2015 and will be a supplement to two existing jails: Western Penitentiary at Pittsburgh and Fayette County Jail. Western was built in 2003, but has been battling multiple lawsuits claiming physical and sexual abuse of prisoners throughout the jail.

RT.com reports:

In Philadelphia, black students comprise 81 per cent of those who will be impacted by the closings despite accounting for just 58 per cent of the overall student population,” she wrote. “In stark contrast, just 4 per cent of those affected are white kids who make up 14 per cent of Philly students. And though they make up 81 per cent of Philadelphia students, 93 per cent of kids affected by the closings are low-income.”

This is following the news of Chicago’s 50 school closures, and no doubt will not be the last time multiple schools will be closing doors, leading to overcrowded classrooms and threats to student safety. In Michigan, an entire school district is in danger, as it has closed it’s doors for days and laid off teachers, while considering to declare a financial emergency since they have run out of money.

While politicians run on promises of fixing budget issues and advocating for education, millions of dollars continue to be set to the side for incarcerating people instead of educating them.

What do you think about closing more schools while opening more prisons?

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Briana Ford wrote 143 articles on this blog.

Briana is a writer, influencer, and Shero who's California bred and Texas fed. When she's not explaining the world of blogging and social media to entrepreneurs and small business owners, you can find her sharing memes, gifs, and her life lessons on her blog.

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