High school is usually a place where your days are spent worrying about pop quizzes and hiding the unfortunate marks of puberty, but not for Liyjon DeSilva.
On paper he’s your dream student, headed to college on a full ride scholarship after graduating top 5% of his class but it’s his life outside of school that tells a different story.
At just five years old Livjon lost his mother, his only guardian. He spent the following years living with different relatives but eventually was abandoned and forced to live on the street. Parking lots became his living room and park benches were his bed, while he missed his mom he never considered missing school.
“What else am I supposed to do? It was either be that or a low life, I could have thrown everything away,” he said in an interview with KTLA. “I have a chance, why not just keep going?”
After years on the streets a staff member from his high school finally realized what was going on. Principal Jonathan Trinh and other staff members heard the news and decided to help out. Using his own money, Trinh paid for a hotel for the student while counselor Jessica Smith looked for more permanent housing for Livjon.
The shelter allowed him to finish high school strong, top 5% strong, and is now on his way to Carleton College on a full ride after a teacher nominated him for the Posse scholarship.
“I had no family, I was homeless, I went through child abuse, I went through family using drugs,” he said. “Where am I now, I am alive and well and blessed. I feel on top of the world.” A crowdfunding site has been set up for the student so he can pay for materials that the college does not cover.