A teenager in Columbus, Ohio, is showing everyone that hard work and determination really do pay off in the end.
For the past five years, Lashawn Samuel regularly walked three miles round trip to the Columbus Metropolitan Library’s Franklinton Branch for help with his homework assignments, then back home again in the dark, according to WJHL.
“The kid has tremendous perseverance and he just keeps going,” said Kelly Young, a Homework Help associate at the library.
At one point during that time, the Columbus City Schools student became ill and was hospitalized. He also struggled with food insecurity and tragically lost a friend to gang violence.
However, none of that deterred him from reaching his goal of becoming the first person in his family to go to college.
This spring, Samuel received acceptance letters from 12 colleges and universities, several of which offered him scholarships including his first choice, Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business.
“I was so excited that I was going to college,” the young man said, adding, “Even if nobody else accepted me, I had this in my pocket. I knew that I … did what I had to do to get into college, and my hard work was paying off.”
One of the things that helped Samuel the most on his journey to success were the words of the famous tennis player, Arthur Ashe, who said, “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”
Samuel explained that he never would have achieved his goal without God, loved ones, and a supportive environment.
Now, he wants to encourage others to have hope and not let the coronavirus pandemic stop them from pushing toward their goals.
“There’s always going to be a challenge or an obstacle that you’re going to have to overcome or grow out of,” he commented, adding, “But as long as you keep true to yourself and have faith and persevere so that you can overcome it, then you will.”