WAUKESHA — A college prep program has been paying off big time at Waukesha South High School.
This year 27 students in the Advancement Via Independent Determination program, or AVID, have earned more than $1.5 million in scholarships.
One of those students was Clayton De Caire. He was not shy about his rough journey to get to where he is today.
"In about 2010 - 11 my house was foreclosed. In the next two years I moved from place to place 13 times. I was never really stable," said De Caire, "I lived in many hotels. I lived at friends and family houses that didn’t last very long."
At one point De Caire said he was homeless for eight months and getting into trouble. He did not care about school.
However, starting in junior high things started to change. De Caire said a principal encourage him to join AVID.
"Avid focuses on giving students exposure to college and careers helping students with reading, organization, inquiry, collaboration," said Amanda Wagner, School District of Waukesha AVID District Coordinator.
De Caire said the program changed his life. It helped him realize his potential and how to tap into the skills he already had. De Caire stuck with AVID throughout high school and saw his GPA improve to a 4.1 senior year.
Despite juggling school and working 10 to 12 hour days on the weekends, De Caire has close to a full ride scholarship to Carroll University. He credited his teachers and his girlfriend for supporting him through all of his challenges. De Caire will major in social studies and secondary education.
"If I become a teacher it would just be the best feeling in the world to know that I have an impact on students like my teachers had an impact on me," said De Caire.
"He is a student that has faced obstacles that most adults have never had to face in their life and he shows up every single day with a smile on his face ready to tackle the world," said Wagner.
De Caire hopes his story teaches others to never give up.