A student from Oklahoma City Public Schools will be visiting Oklahoma University this fall, after overcoming a life-threatening illness and homelessness.
"We did not have a house, we lost our car and I really did not have any friends," said 18-year-old Foley Smith.
Now, his future looks bright, thanks to the support of his teachers and his love of music.
"Learning an instrument, it's very hard," Foley said. "Some people can not do it, so the fact that you can, every time you feel discouraged, you say," I can play an instrument, I can do it. & # 39; "
Foley found motivation in music – he played guitar, trombone and euphonium – as his life began to deteriorate. It started with a severe appendicitis crisis.
"We lost my SoonerCare after two nights in intensive care," he said. "I think my medical bills were worth between $ 60,000 and $ 80,000, and my parents took a two-week break from work because they thought I was going to die."
Foley recovered, but her parents eventually lost their jobs, their homes, and their cars. They moved into a barn on a Paoli farm with his brother, sister and grandparents.
"I stayed there for two years," Smith said. "The first year was really bad. There was no running water in our building, no electricity and no heat. "
He struggled to do his homework, but finally decided that things would change for his freshman year at Capitol Hill High School.
"I would go out and be like, that's not what I can do," said Foley. "I got to the point where I pushed him."
And a group formed around him: teachers pushing him to excel and advisers helping him to take his meals in the food bank.
"It's a lot easier to work and wake up when you've been able to eat," Foley said. "Even the little things – like slices of salt and peanut butter – were very gratifying."
All efforts resulted in a letter of acceptance from OR.
"I'm going to do a major in music for Ed and then I want to open my own guitar or fanfare program in Oklahoma City or Noble in a school district that needs it," he said.
Foley hopes to show children like him the power of music.
"It really gives you a lot of determination and motivation," he said.
According to the latest count of the OCKPS in 2015, there would be more than 2,000 homeless students in the district. There is a program of proximity set up to help homeless children.