Beacon of hope to the homeless
WHILE many of her peers waited anxiously to find out where they would be accepted to college, Megan Faircloth didn’t know where she would sleep at night.
For most of her junior year and the start of her senior year, Faircloth and her family were homeless.
“At one point, we were in a homeless shelter and then we were staying with relatives a little while, and then we lived in our car,” said Faircloth, 17.
Faircloth recently graduated at the top of her class from East Wake High School in Wake Country, North Carolina, the United States. This autumn, she will attend Stanford University where she plans to major in English and minor in education.
Few people at East Wake knew about Faircloth’s experience until she shared her story during a senior awards banquet. She said it felt good to talk about what she had been through.
Faircloth’s family was evicted from their home in November 2015 after personal and financial troubles.
The family would spend hours each day trying to find enough money for a place to sleep.
“We’d be running around all day and then we’d get a motel room at 12 o’clock at night, and then I’d have to start my homework,” Faircloth said. “It was physically exhausting. We didn’t have much money for food or anything, either.”
When a motel was out of the question, Faircloth would sleep in the car with her mother and two siblings. They looked for areas to park where they thought they’d be safe. The car’s windows were jammed and wouldn’t roll up.
“It was really cold in winter and then as it started heating up, it got really hot,” Faircloth said.
Faircloth had unusual concerns for someone trying to go to college – she didn’t have an address when she sent in her applications.
In October, the family moved to a home in Wendell where they continue to live.
Faircloth, who describes herself as reserved, said it was tough to speak in front of her classmates.
“When I got done with the speech, I walked off the stage and looked to the side and everyone was standing and clapping,” she said. “Afterwards, kids came up to me and said they had gone through similar things and that I had inspired them.”
More than 50 students at East Wake are homeless, according to school leaders. The school began collecting hygiene items several years ago and has since formed a food pantry for students in need.
Local churches help support the cause, said Stacey Alston, principal at East Wake High.
Faircloth’s mother, Melba Faircloth, said homelessness was horrible.
“But when you hit rock bottom,” she said, “the only place you can go is up, right?” She described her daughter as tough. “I think she can do anything she wanted to do,” Melba Faircloth said. “She has a lot of determination, and a lot of people would’ve given up, but not her. She’s a fighter. She’s always been a fighter.”
Faircloth said she wouldn’t change anything about her experiences. “I’m glad I went through it because it changed how I view happiness. And it changed my view of myself and other people.” – The News & Observer/Tribune News Service
‘I’m glad I went through it because it changed how I view happiness,’ said Faircloth, 17, who was homeless for a couple of years. — TNS