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Adversity finds people in different ways and at different times. It seems everyone endures some kinds of hardships in their lives but how one handles these tough times varies drastically. Some people give up, some people lean on others for support, some accept it and move on, and others use it at motivation to far surpass any expectations. Unfortunately, the latter is not always the most common approach. To rise up from our lowest lows takes bravery and courage. It takes drive and a self-belief that life will get better.

 Megan Faircloth was homeless, 17, and finishing her junior year of high school. This is not exactly the recipe for success. Megan could have easily dropped out of school, got the first job she could find in order to have a bed to sleep in, and nobody would have blamed her. However, Megan was bound for bigger and better things, and was not going to let adversity or a hardship distract her from the future she envisioned.

 When Megan and her mom first found themselves without a place to live, Megan picked up a book for guidance. That book was Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive”. it gave her hope that there were other people who had triumphed over adversity, and she too could overcome this hardship.

Taking this philosophy to heart, Megan stayed in school. Not only did she stay in school, but she challenged herself everyday. She took a course load full of advanced placement classes and excelled at all of them, despite having less than ideal conditions for completing the course requirements. She would have to do her homework outside in parks or in their car, “which was difficult, if the homework required internet or something."

Megan says of her lowest point, “When we were outside and it started raining and it was windy outside and I was trying to pin down my homework with all of my books and stuff like that and it started raining on my homework and I was like, 'This can either be the end or this is the beginning of me fighting on and deciding to go through all of this and try my best. I just tried to keep my spirit up."

She did exactly that. During her senior year Megan got a letter from Stanford University congratulating her on her acceptance into one of the top universities in the world. She was also valedictorian of her high school. Despite the lows and troubled times during her high school career, Megan never wavered on her dream of finding success. Her mom said she never lost her sense of humor or encouragement for others. She didn’t blame anyone for the hand she had been dealt, and didn’t expect or rely on anyone but herself to make the best of it. To show this kind of drive and positivity shows maturity and courage beyond her years, and for that, we recognize you Megan.