One high school student’s story of homelessness and her rise to the top of her class is captivating people around the country.
Seventeen-year-old Megan Faircloth will graduate Monday as valedictorian of East Wake High School in Wendell, North Carolina, and attend Stanford University on a nearly full four-year scholarship.
Faircloth and her family were homeless for most of her junior year and the beginning of her senior year after they were evicted from their house in November 2015. The family would spend their days trying to come up with the money to afford a motel room. Most days they wouldn’t get a room until midnight, which is when Faircloth would finally start her homework. She was in seven AP classes at the time.
If a motel room wasn’t an option, Faircloth, her mom and two siblings would sleep in the car.
The family moved in with one of Faircloth’s siblings in July 2016, but a month later they were facing eviction. They moved into their own house in Wendell that October.
Faircloth said in an interview with The News & Observer that she would use her time at school to forget her personal problems.
“When I got to school, it was like a relief and I felt I could totally dedicate myself to it,” she said. “My teachers treated me as though I was equal with the other students. I feel like I wouldn’t be here if not for them. They didn’t care where I lived. I was only judged by the quality of the work I was putting in. It was like an escape.”
Faircloth shared her story with her peers at an awards ceremony at the school on June 2 and received a standing ovation. She plans to study English and education at Stanford as a result of the teachers who helped her in her time of need.
“Getting into Stanford was a gift but wasn’t anything I did entirely by myself,” she said. “My teachers helped me, so I want to give it back and give it to other people.”