Tired of bad news? This story may just inspire you. Ieshia Champs has wanted to be a lawyer since she was 7 years old. But in her teenage years, the odds began rising up against her. No one would have blamed her if she believed her dream might be permanently out of reach.
“I really didn’t have any stable guidance at that time. My mom was addicted to drugs. My dad was deceased. And I was homeless,” Champs told CBS News. “I lived with friends or whoever would take me in. Then I got pregnant with the first of my five children, and things just went from there.”
Ieshia dropped out of high school and got a job at a call center to support her growing family. Then, in 2009, when Ieshia was pregnant with her fourth child, the bottom fell out and her dreams could have been dashed forever. She lost her home to a fire, she lost her job, and she lost her father’s children to cancer. The final thing she lost that year was her sanity.
In the pit of despair, Iesha said that she tried to commit suicide. That’s when she got a phone call from her pastor.
“Pastor Louise Holman called me one day and said that God told her to tell me to go back to school and get my GED, because that lawyer I wanted to be, I’ll be it!” Champs recalled. “I thought it was a little crazy because I was too old and I had three children with my fourth child on the way.”
For some reason, Iesha listened to that word from a woman of faith. She got her GED, then went to Houston Community College and finally on to the University of Houston-Downtown.
Today she is set to graduate from Texas Southern University’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law in May. Iesha commissioned a set of photos to commemorate the occasion, and to her surprise…people all over the world are now celebrating with her on social media.
“I took the pictures with my kids because they helped me through school. They’re graduating too!” Champs joked proudly. “They would help me review with flash cards while I cooked. They would sit as a mock jury while I taught them what I learned that day. I would sit in my closet and pray and cry because I was overwhelmed and my oldest son, David, would gather his siblings, give them a snack, make them take a bath, gather their school clothes, all to make things easier for me. And I had no knowledge of him doing that until I went to do it!”
In one photo, Iesha has one of her heels on a pile of books and is standing in front of her five children. She holds a chalkboard with the words, “I did it!” written on it. He children are holding chalkboards that say: “We did it! “I helped too!” and “Me too!”
“When I look at the pictures, I cry, I smile, and I’m very grateful,” Champs told CBS News. “I see a woman who at one time knew that the odds were against her. Looking at that picture reminds me of the fact that I didn’t just defy the odds, me and my children destroyed them.”
These photos have received tens of thousands of likes on social media and the comments are coming from every direction.
“As a mother and a woman who’s interested in law school – id love to ask her of her best advice in deciding to pursue & thrive in law school,” one Instagram user wrote, adding, “Congraaaaaaaats! #goals”
There’s a lot of depressing news out there…this is a story of a dream that wouldn’t die, and of a mother who wouldn’t stop dreaming.