Years of hard work have paid off for Columbus, Ohio teen Lashawn Samuel.
Living in poverty and struggling with hunger, Samuel had to be hospitalized at times due to health issues, and lost a friend to gang violence.
Nevertheless, the young man walked 3 miles every day from his home to a local library to study and get help with his homework.
Starting in eighth grade, Samuel began his daily walk from his home to the Columbus Metropolitan Library, where he would sign in to the Homework Help Center at 3:00 p.m., work until the center closed, and then walk back home.
Sometimes he walked home in the dark to his Section 8 housing.
Incredibly, the young man has now been accepted to 12 colleges, with several offering a full scholarship — including his dream college, Ohio State University, where he is planning on attending the Fisher College of Business.
Samuel will be the first person in his family to go to college.
The budding scholar said:
"I never would have achieved it without God, my family, my friends and this environment I have around me.
There's always going to be a challenge or an obstacle that you're going to have to overcome or grow out of. But as long as you keep true to yourself and have faith and persevere so that you can overcome it, then you will."
Kelly Young, one of the Homework Help associates at the Columbus Metropolitan Library who helped Samuel, said:
"The kid has tremendous perseverance and he just keeps going.
During a time like this, when we are all facing such uncertainty, I think Lashawn's story can really teach us. Using the resources that are around us in our community and depending on each other, that's just the way that we can all get through this pandemic and all the uncertainty of what lies ahead."