A high school student left homeless after his mum’s death has overcome massive odds to graduate top of his class and win a college scholarship.
Liyjon DeSilva spent years living between different relatives after his mum died when he was just five years old, reports the Daily Mail.
He was a victim of child abuse and his family even tried to send him to Africa because ‘his father didn’t want him’.
After being abandoned, he was forced to spend his nights sleeping rough in car parks or on park benches in Houston, Texas, but he never considered missing school.
Liyjon told KTLA:
What else am I supposed to do? It was either be that or a low life, I could have thrown everything away. I have a chance, why not just keep going?’
It took staff at Liyjon’s high school three years to notice one of their best students was living on the streets.
Eventually, Principal Jonathan N. Trinh, discovered the truth about Liyjon’s situation and stepped in.
Trinh used his own money to pay for Liyjon to stay in a hotel while the school counsellor found someone willing to let the student stay at their home.
Liyjon could finally concentrate on his studies and he has now graduated in the top five per cent of his class.
But it doesn’t end there, Liyjon also won a full scholarship to Carleton College in Minnesota after being nominated by a teacher.
After his troubled past, Liyjon said he was finally looking forward to a bright future:
Where am I now, I am alive and well and blessed. I feel on top of the world.
You give somebody that one shot, they can hit the bulls eye. Just that one shot can make the difference.
A crowdfunding site has now been set up to help him buy materials not covered by the scholarship, such as a computer, airplane tickets and warm clothes – and it has already raised over $12,000 (£9,100)
What an incredible story. Massive respect to Liyjon and everyone who has supported him.