Being a law school student is tough. Being a mom of five is not for the faint of heart. Being a single mom is a herculean task. Being a single mom of five who is about to graduate from law school? That is practically unheard of, but that is precisely what Ieshia Champs is doing.
The 33-year-old Houston, TX resident took a rather circuitous path to this juncture in her life. Champs bounced around from home to home in the foster care system in her youth partly because of her mother’s drug addiction. One of her sisters had a baby at 14 years old and Champs herself dropped out of school in the 10th grade. She met the future father of her children around that time. They had their first child when she was 19.
The Port Arthur, TX native’s life changed when she was pregnant with her fourth child and her sister convinced her to attend a church in Houston. It was there that she met Louise Holman, a prophetess who told Champs that God wanted her to go back to school for her GED, so that she could fulfill her dream of becoming a lawyer.
Champs felt buoyed by Holman’s encouragement, but soon after, her faith was tested. “During that same year — it was 2009 — I ended up having a house fire, I lost everything that I had. I got laid off from my job, the father to two of my children died of cancer while I was seven months pregnant, I literally tried to kill myself, and I ended up going back to get my GED,” shared Champs in a Yahoo interview.
From there, Champs earned an associate’s degree, a bachelor’s degree, and this May, she will be graduating from the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University. She credits her children, who range in age from 5 to 14, with doing their part to make sure she made it to the finish line.
Her way of acknowledging them was to put them in her graduation photos. The photos from her shoot featuring all five of her kids have gone viral along with her inspirational story.
As far as post-graduation plans, She uses her own unstable childhood as a motivating force for her career choices.
“I feel like with what I’ve been through as a child and in my upbringing, I can probably help some of these juveniles who may feel like there’s no hope for them. I want to be the one to fight for those children who are in these horrible living arrangements,” she noted.
Champs intends to specialize in family and juvenile law and one day become a judge.