Mom of five Ieshia Champs has dreamed of becoming an attorney since she was a little girl. But the road she had to take to get there was paved with challenges. After a difficult childhood spent living with her grandparents and in foster care, she was forced to drop out of high school, at which point she believed she would never accomplish her goals. She also became pregnant for the first time at the age of 19 and had four more children over the next decade.
In 2009, she experienced an especially trying year, during which she lost her job, and also lost her family’s belongings in a house fire. The father of two of her children also passed away. Champs was bereft but, after a talk with the pastor at her church, she was inspired to start studying again.
She earned her GED, an associate degree from Houston Community College and finally a bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston. For three years, Champs, 33, balanced the demands of law school at Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University and those of raising her children as a single mom, relying on friends and family along the way.
Although she sometimes felt like giving up, Champs was inspired by her children to keep going. Now, she will graduate magna cum laude on May 11. She plans to take the bar exam in July, and hopes to eventually become a federal judge.
To celebrate the occasion, Champs had a photo shoot with her kids. She posted the photos to social, one of which has since gone viral:
“I took the pictures with my kids because they helped me through school. They’re graduating too!” Champs told CBS News. “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!”
What an inspiring story! Congratulations to this awesome family.