Ashley Strange is an graduate of Trinity University In Washington, D.C. where she earned her B.A. in Communication. She is a alumni of the D.C. foster care system where she spent five years after the death of her mother. Life for her has always been a struggle. She especially struggled with school.
A Testimony from 2015’s “Breaking the Silence: A Hearing on Girls of Color”
“There were times that I felt alone. I felt that no one wanted to help me. I was placed in special education classes with other students that had all kinds of problems such as behavioral and mental problems. I wasn’t learning anything. These classes taught the same things that I had learned from previous years. I can recall a time that me and some of the other students got together and begged to learn new things. One of the things that we wanted to learn more than anything was Algebra.”
“Our teacher would make promises to help us learn basic Algebra. For two years we sat in that special educational class, and did not one math problem. I felt dumb. I started to go to school only twice a week, and after my mother died I gave up completely on school. I was only 15 in the 10th grade.”
“I entered foster care soon after, and they forced me to go back to school. It was hard, but with tutoring and other resources provided by the foster care system, I was able to go back to school and graduate. Now I am in my junior year at Trinity Washington University. Foster care wasn’t always great; in fact, I think that it needs major improvements. However they helped me get back in school, and for that I thank them. But why is it that I had to go through the foster care system in order to succeed in school?”
“I’m still not good at it, but I was able to pass pre-algebra, algebra, finite algebra, and statistics with As and Bs in my first and second year of college. I find it sad that I was able to get a 100% on my first finite algebra test, but Fs in high school. There is something seriously wrong with this picture. I was even told that I wouldn’t graduate from high school, and if I did, going to college would be nothing but a dream that would never come true. And yet, through the grace of God, and help from the system, I have made it this far.”
“I thank God that I was able to graduate despite being told I wouldn’t.” Her learning disability seemed to be too much for teachers to handle; so, she felt that she was cast away and didn’t learn much. As mentioned above, before foster care, Ashley wasn’t attending school regularly which left her with little chances of graduating. After entering foster care, she started going to school everyday and managed to graduate with a cumulative 2.7 GPA.
Before graduating, she managed to raise her GPA to a 3.3, and in the Spring and Fall semester of 2015, she earned a term GPA of 3.6 which placed her on the 2015 Dean’s List at Trinity Washington University. in her last semester, Fall 2016 she earned a term GPA of 3.9, earning her Dean’s List again. In April, 2016 she was inducted into the Lambda Pi Eta Communication Honor Society with a major GPA of 3.7 at the time. In August 2016 she earned the DC Attorney General’s “Right Direction” for community leadership.
Ashley considers herself an advocate and an example for foster youth and for those who were told to basically give up. To this day, she finds it amazing that she received a High School Diploma, and will soon be a college graduate. Ashley’s advice to people like her is “to never give up and always strive for success!”
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