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Jun 20 2017
by Victoria Cheng

This High School Graduate Excelled Despite The Odds Against Him

By Victoria Cheng - Jun 20 2017

A trend on Twitter has students listing their accomplishments as they graduate from their schools. This high school graduate tweeted something in a similar fashion but put an unexpected and inspiring twist to it.

Lamel Williams, a graduate of Shadow Ridge High School in Surprise, Arizona, lost his mother at the age of fifteen when she was murdered by a gunman in his front yard. He was then sent to live with his father, but his father had remarried and began abusing him. His father kicked him out during his junior year, so Williams moved into his friend’s house

“My greatest struggle was definitely my mother’s death,” he told Fresh U via Twitter direct message. “I had to be strong for my twin brother and little sister, and I just kept telling myself that. I also had to lead by example from then on because our dad wasn't much of a dad, so I had to step up”

With his mother in his thoughts, Williams strives to do his best. Amidst all of the chaos happening in his home life, Williams excelled in his academics and will now be attending the University of Arizona on a full scholarship.

“I maintained good grades while living with my dad and stepmom, because I wanted my mom to be proud,” he said. “My dad and stepmom would always say, ‘oh your mom is probably rolling over in her grave,’ but I paid no attention to the negative.”

Refusing to give up despite what he has been through, Williams used his negative experiences to fuel his desire to thrive.

“To be honest, it hurt, and I just felt and thought that if he can hit me and do what he wants to me, I'm not gonna let life do the same,” Williams said.

With the help of his friend, who goes by JP Salazar, and Salazar’s family, Williams is now in a safe environment, a place he can finally call home.

“I got kicked out my junior year, and my friend asked his parents if I could stay with them, and that's where I am currently,” he said, “but for 3 years I went through what I went through and he [Salazar] gave me a place to call home”

After sharing his tweet on Twitter, it went viral, now with over 40,000 retweets and 200,000 likes. Many of the messages he receives in response are positive, encouraging and commending him for his achievements.

“I was so excited that I thought I could run 100 10k marathons even though I can barely do 3 miles without getting an asthma attack,” Williams said. “Everyone was saying ‘oh you're famous,’ and I just kept saying that it's not an exciting tweet nor is it a sob story; it's an inspirational tweet.”

Through his tweet, Williams hopes to encourage those going through difficult times to continue on and create happiness in their lives.

“Good and bad come in many different ways and you gotta keep your head up to see the opportunity in front of you,” Williams said.

Lead Image Credit: Freshnclean91 via Twitter

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Victoria Cheng -

Victoria Cheng is a freshman studying journalism at Baruch College in New York. She loves to drink tea, read and sing just about any type of music. Follow her on Instagram @itsviccctoria

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