Kelisha Williams, From Foster Care To Harvard on a Full Scholarship

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When Kelisha Williams was younger, she told her teachers she wanted to be the president when she grew up. She is now one step closer to her dream as she prepares to head to Harvard University in the fall.

Kelisha Williams entered the foster care system at 16 years old, and she said it has been a tough few years in the system. She has moved five times in less than two years before ending up with SAFY foster mom Maria Finkenstead.

Williams was working at Walmart and preparing for college when Finkenstead asked her how college admissions were going.

“I said, ‘Hey did you take the ACT?'” Finkenstead said. “She said, ‘Yeah,’ and I said, ‘Well, what did you get?’ And she’s like, a 32, and I was like, ‘You can go anywhere!'”

“When I applied to Harvard, I applied to Harvard as a joke,” Williams said. “I didn’t think I was going to get in.”

What started as a joke became more real as the days went on. As part of Harvard’s admissions interview, Williams spoke with Michelle Obama and Lin Manuel Miranda. During the interviews, Williams asked Obama how she kept going with so many people working against her.

Now, Williams is preparing to study political science and psychology on a full-ride scholarship to Harvard.

“She’s done all the work. All the determination has come from her,” Finkenstead said. “I take no credit in any of her accomplishments.”

“To any of the foster kids that are watching, everyone always says it’s going to get better. I never used to believe that when I was going through it and stuff like that,” Williams said. “Eventually it does.”

 

SOURCE: WCPO

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