Xis Webster is a 17-year-old junior with a 4.1 GPA. She’s been on the honour roll throughout high school and has plans to go to college. “As a 17-year-old junior with a 4.1 GPA, many wouldn’t expect me to have such a rough life,” Elexis, of Oakland, Calif., began her application essay to Students Rising Above, a community organization dedicated to helping first-generation, low-income students achieve success. “I grew up on the streets with an abusive drug addict for a mother, along with an older brother who molested me countless times, plus constant sickness.
My life wasn’t a life, it was a war zone,” CBS News reports. Elexis told the news station that before being placed in a foster home with her sister, she was forced to live on the streets in abandoned cars and anywhere else they could find shelter. She also endured physical and emotional abuse, an older brother abused her, and, Elexis and her sister would be left for days, alone and cold with nothing to eat. Elexis’s immune system became compromised because of the neglect and she almost died at age 9 because of her oxygen levels we so low.