[This story was originally posted during Women’s History Month last year. Every Wednesday that month we highlighted a woman who is currently dominating her field and showing us that we can really do anything. Like Chelsea Handler, the woman of late night comedy; Kathryn Bigelow, last year’s best director; Gwen Stefani, rockstar mommy; and Ellen Degeneres, talk show host and gay rights activist.]
Women’s History Month is (unforch) coming to an end, and this week, it’s time to pay homage to a very different type of hero. All month long we’ve been telling you why we worship various female celebs based on their fierce fashion or sense of humor. To finish out the month, I want to share with you all the story of Khadijah Williams, a freshman at Harvard University who proves that a woman, no matter where she’s from or what means she has access to, can achieve anything with the right amount of determination.
Williams was born in Brooklyn, NY, to a 14-year-old mother who soon moved her to California and gave birth to Jeanine, her younger sister. They slept in shelters and motels and ate out of garbage. Still, her mother sent her to school. Khadijah first realized she had a gift in the 3rd grade when she received amazing scores on a state standardized test, and at the young age of 8 became determined to never let anything stand in her way of an education.
Williams’ mother, in an effort to survive, moved her and her sister around from city to city and school to school. Oftentimes Khadijah couldn’t finish the school year in the same place she started, disrupting her education. Despite her unpredictable life, however, she still maintained straight A’s and took it upon herself to get involved in organizations that would help her further her education. She even enrolled in college classes during summers and was on the track team!
During her senior year, unwilling to leave her current school, Williams’ mother and sister left her alone. She completed the year and earned her high school diploma with no support from her biological family, but with plenty of support from South Central Scholar faculty whom she had inspired with her drive.
In June 2009, Williams graduated fourth in her class from Jefferson High School (where she had been since junior year, despite more moves by her mother) and accepted a full scholarship to Harvard. Yes, a full academic scholarship to Harvard, one of the most respected Universities in the country.
Khadija Willaims is a regular girl, not a glamorous celebutante, but her story is the most inspiring I have ever heard. If this girl can do this, the rest of us can do anything we put our minds to.
Read her full story here.
[This post is a favorite of CollegeCandy fan, Taylor. She said, “Such an inspiration. A poor woman who overcame all odds and got a full ride to Harvard. Now that’s empowerment!!” We agree. Thanks for reading, Taylor!]