“As a 17-year-old junior with a 4.1 GPA, many wouldn’t expect me to have such a rough life,” Elexis Webster began her application essay to Students Rising Above. “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.”

Webster has been an Honor Roll student throughout high school and plans to go to college — but Elexis’ story is far from the norm, CBS SF Bay Area reported. Growing up, her family lived on the streets, in a dug-out, a car, a motel and anywhere else they could find shelter.

She refuses to let her past dictate her future! Read more of this story from CBS News.

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Featured image from CBS SF Bay Area.