Ieshia Champs is a woman who defied the odds and achieved her lifelong dream of becoming a lawyer. She is a single mother of five children, who helped her study and graduate from law school with honors. She recently passed the bar exam in Texas and is on her way to becoming a licensed attorney.
A Difficult Journey
Champs did not have an easy life growing up. She was homeless as a teenager, dropped out of high school, and had her first child at 19. She faced many challenges and tragedies, such as losing her job, her home, and the father of two of her children to cancer. She also suffered a miscarriage and was diagnosed with a rare illness that caused her to lose her memory.
But Champs did not give up on her education or her faith. She obtained her GED from Houston Community College in 2009, then pursued an associate degree in paralegal studies from the same institution. She graduated with honors in 2011 and received a scholarship to attend the University of Houston-Downtown, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies in 2013. She then applied and was accepted to Texas Southern University’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law, where she received several awards and scholarships. She graduated in May 2018 with a 3.63 GPA and Magna Cum Laude honors.
She credits her children, who are aged 5 to 14, for helping her succeed in law school. They served as mock jurors, quizzed her with flashcards, and encouraged her to keep going. She also received support from her church, her mentors, and people from all over the world who were inspired by her story.
A Viral Sensation
Champs became an internet sensation when she posted her graduation photos on Facebook, featuring her in a cap and gown with her five children holding signs that read “I did it because of you”, “We did it”, and “I helped too”. The photos went viral and were shared by thousands of people, including celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry.
The photos captured the attention of the media, who interviewed Champs about her remarkable journey and achievements. She appeared on CBS News, ABC News, CNN, Ebony, Essence, and other outlets. She also received invitations to speak at events across the country and abroad, sharing her message of hope and perseverance.
Champs said she was overwhelmed by the positive response and the opportunities that came her way. She said she was grateful for the recognition and the support she received from strangers who donated money, gift cards, clothes, and books to help her and her children.
A Bright Future
Champs took the bar exam in July 2018 and waited anxiously for the results. On October 29, she received a letter from the Texas Board of Law Examiners congratulating her for passing the bar. She shared the news on Facebook with a photo of the letter and a caption that read “God you did that! Ieshia N. Champs, Esq.”
She said she was ecstatic and relieved to have passed the exam on her first try. She said she still had to complete the licensing process before she could officially practice law in Texas. She said she was interested in working as a family law attorney or a juvenile prosecutor.
She also said she wanted to continue inspiring others with her story and showing them that anything is possible with hard work and faith. She said she hoped to write a book about her life and start a nonprofit organization to help single parents pursue their education.
“I see a woman who at one time knew that the odds were against her,” Champs said about herself. “Looking at that picture reminds me of the fact that I didn’t just defy the odds, me and my children destroyed them.”
Another proud mom doing amazing things is Dorothy Miller. She was only 15 years old when she gave birth to her first child. She faced many challenges as a teenage mother, such as stigma, poverty, and lack of support. She dropped out of high school and struggled to make ends meet. But she never gave up on her dreams of getting an education and improving her life.
She enrolled in a GED program and passed the test. She then applied to a community college and earned an associate degree in social work. She transferred to a four-year university and completed a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She continued her studies and obtained two master’s degrees, one in counseling and one in public administration. She finally achieved her ultimate goal of earning a PhD in education from the University of Georgia.
Dorothy Miller is now a successful educator, researcher, and advocate for teen mothers. She works as a professor at a local college and conducts research on the barriers and opportunities for teen mothers in education. She also runs a nonprofit organization that provides mentoring, tutoring, and scholarships for teen mothers who want to pursue higher education. Keep reading Dorothy’s story here.