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Articles / Majors & Careers / Earning a Scholarship Was My Only Way Out

Earning a Scholarship Was My Only Way Out

P Written by Possible Dreams, Possible Paths | June 9, 2021

Ikie dreams of earning a scholarship and using his college education to give back to the same community that helped him during hard times.

"No matter what life throws at you, you just get back up. You beat the odds. That's what you do. You beat the odds."

Watch the video and real the full transcript below

"Before I could really read and write, my mom was starting me early to try and make sure that I was really good in school and that I did well in school because she told me from a very early age that this is your only way out. She pushed that hard on me. And I think that that is one of the reasons why I did push myself so hard in high school because I want to be happy I want to live an awesome life and I knew that the only way that I was going to be able to make any of my dreams come true was if I got off my butt and got scholarships, cuz I knew I wasn't gonna be able to afford college. So I had to do good in high school.

Well, my name is James Ikie Brooks but I go by my middle name, which is Ikie.

Right now we are in Warden, West Virginia. We're actually at my grandma's old house. This is where I grew up. It's different now. It just has a different kind of feeling to it. It seems forgotten. It seems rundown."

Can you share a challenge you faced and how it shaped you?

"My mom and dad were super, super young whenever they got pregnant with me. My mom was 16 years old. Whenever she found out that she was pregnant with me, she was terrified. They were just going through a lot and they were in an abusive relationship. And so after I was born, my mom decided to leave, leave my dad and my dad kind of had a checkered past. He was in and out of jail and stuff, my mom, she ended up marrying my stepdad.

I love my stepdad. He was super awesome. But then they started getting into drugs pretty bad. They were using prescription pills. And so it was like a slow progression of them kind of becoming less functioning addicts and becoming, like, super dependent."

What keeps you motivated?

"I didn't have such a great home life so I like I made school the best that it could possibly be. So like I was so involved and like, it would be nothing for me to stay after school for four or five hours just because I had so many activities. Because what would you rather do, stay after school, and be with your friends, and hang out, and talk about all these cool clubs and stuff that you're in? Or go and sit at home and see the things that are going on at home?

And so for me, school was such an escape, school was such a way for me to get away from everything and keep myself focused and keep myself on track. I loved it. I love Scott High School. I pushed myself really, really hard because I wanted college more than anything in my life. I wanted that scholarship and I got it and it's the best decision I've ever made.

Growing up, the sense was you want to get out of that small town if you want to get out of that environment. You want to get off to college, and you want to go off and do something like that. But I can't just go off and not come back. I want to come back and I wanna help Boone County because I've seen all the amazing people there. I've seen all of the amazing people that helped me whenever I was at my lowest. Whenever I didn't have a lot they made sure that I was okay. And so I just think that going out into the world and making myself a better person and making myself able to make a difference and then coming back. That's what I should be doing. I should be taking all these things and then coming back to a community that's given to me and giving back. No matter what life throws at you, you just get back up. You beat the odds. That's what you do. You beat the odds."

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Possible Dreams, Possible Paths

Created through a partnership between educational nonprofit Roadtrip Nation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Possible Dreams, Possible Paths allows students to connect to stories and experiences from their peers, through video interviews centered around topics like mental health, plans beyond high school, social issues, family and responsibilities.

Explore the website for more inspiring, real-life stories and resources for students.

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