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.


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  • Niambi

    Awesome job! Best of luck to her and her endeavors. She and her sister have a bright future ahead of her!

    • Niambi


  • Mrs. Jones

    Congrats young lady!!