No child should have to grow up in a “war zone.”
Yet 17-year-old Elexis Webster described her upbringing as such. She told KPIX 5 that she grew up homeless with abusive family members and severe health issues. But despite having so many factors against her, Webster has overcome insurmountable odds to become an honor student at her high school.
The Bay Area teen spent her childhood living in dug-outs, cars, motels and anywhere her family could find shelter, the local outlet reported as a part of their “Students Rising Above” series. Webster said she was physically abused by her mother, a drug addict, who left her and her sister alone without food for days. Her older brother molested her “countless times,” she said.
Her poor living conditions led to her developing a severely weakened immune system, which she says caused her to miss school often. At the age of nine, she nearly died when she had to be rushed to the hospital because of her dangerously low oxygen levels.
“As a 17-year-old junior with a 4.1 GPA, many wouldn’t expect me to have such a rough life,” she told KPIX 5. “Just surviving in the household with two monsters, with monsters as a family, surviving in an environment like that and then being able to come out of it. I knew I had to make the best of what happened to me.”
At 14, her mother was arrested for leaving Webster and her sister in a car in the middle of a school day, she told the outlet. The two girls were placed in foster care with a woman whom Webster still lives with. She calls her “Mema.”
“Mema,” who the teen sees as her mom, encouraged Webster as she re-enrolled in school. Even after missing three years of school, Webster was able to excell. Webster has plans to attend UCLA and study physiology, non-profit For Richmond reported last year.
“I got to a place where I was able to become motivated to keep going and push for higher than a 4.0 and push to get into a really great college or university,” she told KPIX 5. “It’s unbelievable to say that I went through that. I see success. I see happiness and I see peace.”
H/T The Root