We had so many amazing stories to consider in Contest #9: Beating the Odds.  Sweet stories like salvaging a cake from ruins to win a prize or an underdog baseball team that won a victory against all odds; moving stories of abuse, betrayal, disappointment and survival; stories of love and salvation; stories of  personal triumph over physical tragedy. They were all wonderful and from time to time we will share them.

But only one story won and we’re proud to announce that the winner of Contest #9 is Rachel’s Story.

Rachel’s winning entry:

Rachel’s Story

“I was about to drop out of high school, never went, or if I did go, I would get myself suspended somehow. I knew all the tricks. Smoking in the bathroom, skipping classes, getting into trouble however I could. My mother was completely fed up and filed charges against me in juvenille court and my high school filed truancy charges against me also.

Well the big change came when after months and months of court appearances and social workers I was ordered into a special education program run by Youth Opportunities Upheld Inc. (Y.O.U. Inc.) . It was basically a high school for kids who had been kicked out of public school.
At Y.O.U. Inc., I went from being a total delinquent with 120 absences and 13 suspensions to a near perfect attendance record and graduating valedictorian.

This is myunderdog story. My high schoolexperince changed my life forever. the staff that I encountered at Y.O. U. Inc. and the difference between there and public school for me was life changing.

The love and commitment my mother showed to me bysticking by me and going to court with me a cajillion times for me proved to me that even through all our ups and downs that she still loved me no matter how crappy I was acting at the time. The fact that she would not let me dropout of school showed me a lot about her commitment to my future.

My juvenille court judge ended up speaking for me at my graduation. It was sweet. Thank you.”