Chelesa Fearce had a secret that her classmates didn’t know.

A secret that could not define or defeat her.

A secret that she was ready to reveal on graduation day: Their valedictorian was homeless.

Today, six years later, her story of perseverance continues, from a teenager studying by the stove light at extended-stay motels to Spelman College graduate and medical researcher now starting Yale Medical School.

“Homelessness taught me how to work hard, always persevere and never let anything get in my way,” Fearce told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution recently.

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