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If you asked Liberty High School Senior Destiny Lusk if she’d change anything about her life, she’d tell you “no”. The disadvantages life continuously threw at her, she turned into advantages that have led her to where she is today. Lusk was awarded the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc. Scholarship. A scholarship worth $25,000 only awarded to 106 students in the United States of America.
The Scholarship is awarded to high school students who have faced and overcome great obstacles in their lives, who have exhibited determination, integrity, and perseverance overcoming adversity.
Growing up Lusk faced adversities than no one person should ever have to experience. Often without food, water or utilities, Lusk and her siblings went hungry and often did not have a permanent place to live. She witnessed extensive drug use by both of her parents before her father’s passing in January 2014.
Through it all Lusk maintained a positive attitude and drive that kept her mind off of her home life. As a coping mechanism, she kept herself incredibly busy at school by taking advanced classes and participating in various extracurricular activities such as, cross country, softball, Upward Bound, Show Choir, concert choir, student council, Christian Club and participated in the Science Bowl. She is currently Liberty High School’s Student Body President, and the secretary of the National Honor Society. She even maintained a job on the weekends.
But, her home life became all too much to handle, she went to court and got a protective order against her mother and was able to move in with her softball coach, Amber Rock. Without the support of the Liberty High School community, Lusk leaving her previous situation would not have been possible.
Recently, Lusk made a trip to Washington D.C.to attend the Horatio Alger Scholars Conference to receive her scholarship. At the scholarship presentation, a three (3) videos aired highlighting the adversities of three (3) scholarship recipients, including Lusk, before receiving the scholarship from Rob Lowe. A media crew from the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc. Scholarship made their way to Clarksburg to film Lusk’s story.
Her trip to D.C allowed her to make viable connections and lead her to a greater opportunity. She had the opportunity to listen to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas speak amongst various other prominent guest speakers. She also was able to connect with famous singer and mental health coach Jewel, as their stories were very similar. Lusk is in contact with Jewel’s organization to take part in a retreat and internship program this summer in Nevada.
After meeting her Horatio family, it’s the first time in 18 years that Lusk has not felt alone. Recently diagnosed with depression and PTSD, Lusk has this community of people to fall back on for support and motivation.
If there is one piece of advice Lusk could give someone going through a similar situation it would be, “Your environment does not have to define you. You have the power to write your own story and map out your own path. Find your light inside of you, and do not be consumed by anger, constantly remind yourself of what you are doing and find your aspirations”.
Lusk will be attending to Fairmont State University where she hopes her education will lead her to being able to help others who experience disadvantages.