chelesa fearce

Chelesa Fearce is a shining example of a student that didn’t let obstacles get in her way when it came to her education. You  see, during most of Chelesa’s high school career she was homeless and living in her mother’s car.  Chelesa, a senior at Charles Drew High School in Clayton County, Georgia, knew that her hard work would pay off, despite the obstacles presented to her.

“I just told myself to keep working, because the future will not be like this anymore,” Fearce said. “You’re worried about your home life and then worried at school. Worry about being a little hungry sometimes, go hungry sometimes. You just have to deal with is. You eat what you can, when you can.”

Although her family occasionally lived in an apartment, because of her mother’s lay-offs, they took refuge in shelters.

“Ended up back in another shelter because I got laid off from my job maybe about four or five times,” Fearce’s mother, Reenita Shephard said.

“I just did what I had to do,” Fearce said.

None of that stopped Chelesa from achieving a 4.466 GPA and a 1900 SAT score.  On top of her regular high school course load, Chelesa was able to enroll in college courses during her last two years of high school.  When she enters Spelman in the fall, she will do so as a college junior.

Brains apparently run in the family. Chelesa’s sister is graduating from George Washington Carver High School as a salutatorian.

“I read to them a lot. Everything was a learning experience,” Shephard said.

“Don’t give up. Do what you have to do right now so that you can have the future that you want,” Chelesa said.

  • Elyse

    This is out of my home town. So proud because people constantly dis Clayton County as ghetto and run down, but we have some truly intelligent and talented kids coming out of there. Don’t let the bad apples spoil the bunch :-) Go girl!

  • Sasha

    Absolutely love reading stories of triumph like this! This girl is going to go so very far and even though I don’t know her, I am very proud of her.

  • Ms. Gamechanger

    Wow both sisters are graduating at the top of their class. I’m proud of them both. I wish them lots of success in the future. They are a shining example of determination. They knew life would get better if they fought for it, they did and WON!!

  • ceecee

    I absolutely love it when I hear stories like this. This one is especially touching to me because my sister, mom and I lived in my mom’s car for 3 days when we were homeless for about 7 months while I was in high school. Didn’t graduate top of my class but I did go on to college and I have a good career today.

    Good mom’s are amazing, they inspire their daughters to be the best they can be. This is just the beginning for the Fearce sisters!

  • dippedingodiva

    Congrats to this young lady. Her story is really inspirational and I know she will excel anywhere!! Best of luck!

  • AJW

    Congrats to this inspirational young woman! Hope her life continues to florish.

  • jay cee

    I’m sitting here crying. God keep them safe, keep them healthy, keep them happy, and keep them BRILLIANT! I’ve attended college graduations this year and computer streamed Morehouse’s graduation. Rest assured, our young people ARE out there kicking it and taking names! Don’t be fooled, the future looks bright!

  • jay cee

    I wonder what college her sister is going to?

  • Rakel

    Stories like this make me so happy to hear. Wonderful accomplishments to both girls. Their mother did a fantastic job. I pray GOD will continue to bless them.

  • KDJW

    Such an inspriational story just goes to show determination, dedication and hard work pays off. May God bless the both of them

  • Anthony

    I hope and pray the best for both of the sisters. The Fearce sisters are fierce in the best possible way!

  • LadyP

    Congratulations to both of these young ladies.

    If there was ever a story to use as an example for inspiration and a lesson on perseverance, My God – this is one of them.

    They have overcome several obstacles on soooo many levels. May God continue to bless this family!

  • entro

    This is what I tell my children, THERE ARE NO EXCUSES!! You have to endure and strive and go around the obstacles and never give up. if this young lady can accomplish what she has while living in a car and sometimes going hungry, what can they achieve while having safe shelter, 3 meals , clothing and 2 parents etc.
    They and all the other children like them HAVE NO EXCUSE. I pray for this young lady and her family and I will hold her up as an example of excellence and character for my children

  • inbell

    This was so inspirational because i’m a college freshman now in the sciences and it’s so difficult but I just keep trying and pushing it because I know it’ll be worth it in the end. I am proud of them

  • B.L. Dillard

    We’ll start calling her Chelsea Fierce … the real Ms. Fierce (not Sasha)!

  • B.L. Dillard

    oops! Chelesa not Chelsea!

  • vette

    Hey Jay Z, where’s their car?

  • KissOfDanger

    Don’t get me wrong I LOVE stories like this. However I’m starting to question the motivation behind promoting these homeless-to-harvard stories. I call it Homeless-To-Harvard Syndrome. I know that some of the keys to success in life is perseverance, dedication, and grit. This girl has it in spades. However I’m starting to get the feeling that there is something more sinister going on. It’s like saying it’s no longer an excuse not to succeed becuase you are on the streets. When in reality it’s not an excuse but a damn good reason. Most people are stuck trying to get their basic needs filled. This girl is very lucky becuase she is at high risk to have A LOT of bad things happen to her. She has a mind of steel, and great coping skills which the majority of us are not blessed with. (not to mention our society needs more of these things as a whole) Her mother could have easily sold them out but did not.

    My issue is that stories like her’s is going to be used as an excuse to raise the bar to an unfairly high level. Stories like these give people an excuse to lack empathy, and say; “If she can do it so can you.” The fact that a girl like this was suffering in such a way and no one did anything to help this family really grinds my gears. Her story is an inspiration, but lets not let it be an excuse not to make things better for the coming generations.

  • Anthony

    I see your point. Obviously, a story like this is a great inspiration, but to suggest anybody can do what she has done, or that anybody will get the breaks she did (I don’t care how brilliant she and her sister are, they got some help to be where they are now.) the reality is that we need to be be in awe of the homeless kid who graduates and gets into community because that takes determination too!

  • heather wilson

    Ignorance seem to rbe running rampant with your comments. Let’s face it, it is a wonderful story of achievement against the odds.

  • KissOfDanger

    I am in awe of her, but we shouldn’t let that de-rail us from dealing with poverty. I guess you can throw determination and perseverance in the same category.

  • binks

    Wow! What a wonderful and inspirational story it proves if you have the will and drive you will find a way! Congrats!!

  • Jade Noelle

    Wow, what an amazing story. By the way, I’ve got to say I appreciate today’s batch of stories. Less depressing and more variety overall.

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  • GlowBelle

    Now THIS is something I love to read about! So inspiring and proving once again that it doesn’t matter where you come from, but how you get there, that perseverance and hard work are the ultimate pay off in the end. I wish her and her family the best, the only way is up for them!

    Love that there last name is ‘Fearce’…suits them well!

  • RenJennM

    Amazing stories like this remind me of my two cousins: They’re both sisters, and neither their mom nor their dad raised them. Their dad was doing a ten-year bid in prison, and their mom was on drugs because she was depressed about their dad. My grandma rescued them from going into the foster care system, and she raised them herself. Both of them grew up to be two young, beautiful, strong Black women of God. One is a straight-A student studying Law in college, and other one is in the Air Force with me and in the Honor Guard as well.

    The thing is we look at one’s achievements despite their odds and think they’ve made it. Yes, maybe academically so or career-wise. But what about the mental scars left behind? Thankfully, the girl in this story seems happy and her family seems close. My cousins still deal with some sadness and anger, and are still working on their relationships with their parents.

    I don’t know what the girl in the story will be studying in college, but hopefully she can share her story with young girls coming up in similar situations as hers. It’s always amazing when we make it, but we should try to reach back and empower others to do the same as well. Not all girls in tough situations are as determined as she.

  • GeekMommaRants

    Congratulations Chelesa! All the very best!

  • MommieDearest

    Wow! Good for the fierce Fearce sisters! They will definitely go on to do great things.

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  • bob

    I commend this young lady to over come all the barriers in her way is amazing.

  • Victor

    Amazing. Congratulations to her and her sister.

  • paintgurl40

    she is living up to her name so far….fierce. so happy for her!

  • dr. koura

    keep keeping on lil sis…your rewards are beyond this world…i have a tear in my eye for you and your sweet family…better must come.

  • Robert E Carr

    Cant you just accept the story as it is, rather than reading something in it,
    that is’nt there. These girls are amazing!!

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