Prom queen, cheerleading captain, 4.0 GPA and full-ride scholarship…you’d think I’d be describing someone with a solid upbringing with an educated environment and motivating parents–but that’s not the case.
Destyni Tyree is the walking definition of making the most out of a bad situation.
“Accomplished,” the 16-year-old told ABC News. “That’s how I feel right now.”
To understand why she feels accomplished you have to hear where she came from. Her childhood was filled with fist fights and crowded rooms which is pretty much the “normal” for families living in homeless shelters.
“It’s OK,” Destyni said. “At first, I didn’t like it because I was used to my own space.”
Destyni’s family was forced to move into D.C. General, the city’s largest homeless shelter after her mother lost her job.
The stress of the homeless lifestyle took its toll on Destyni and she began acting up to the point of getting pulled out of several schools.
“I had a lot of issues with classmates and teachers. It was just too much,” she said.
That’s when she discovered Roosevelt S.T.A.Y. High School, an alternative education for people who were struggling.
“As a student, she is a natural-born leader,” said Eugenia Young, principal of Roosevelt S.T.A.Y. High School.
Destyni worked hard to manage her heavy class load along with working 25 hours a week at an ice cream parlor. As if that wasn’t enough, she was also involved in many extracurricular activities like launching the school’s first cheerleading squad and organizing school trips.
“I just time managed,” Tyree said. “I just wake up and do what I gotta do.”
“The more and more she’s around people who constantly tell her how smart she is, and how she can do anything she puts her mind to, the more she believes she can do anything now,” Young said.
“It gets better,” Tyree said. “If you work hard enough, if you have that drive, if you have that motivation, it gets a lot better.”
The odds of a homeless teen finishing high school aren’t great, let alone doing it with a perfect GPA but Destyni isn’t your average teen. She has the desire to get her degree and become a principal so she can give back to others the same way she’s been blessed.
Powerful evidence that when you add hard work to a supporting community, anything is possible.