COVINA (CBSLA) — Charter Oak High School senior Ashley Anderson is no stranger to adversity.

“I lived in a single-parent household for the majority of my life,” she said. “My dad, he was in and out of my life, it wasn’t 100% conclusive. Things got hard at home, and I was moved into foster care.”

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Anderson was born in South Los Angeles and at 12-years-old was forced into foster care. But what was the darkest moment in her young life, quickly turned into a light at the end of the tunnel.

“My godparents, they came and got me, then they got legal guardianship of me last year,” she said. “It’s been an amazing journey.”

It’s been five years, and Anderson credits her family and community for helping her get her footing and fulfill her potential at her Covina high school.

“I had amazing godparents, and I had an amazing support system here,” she said. “I feel like I’ve done pretty well going from where I had to be, but I just don’t feel like the case should have been that I had to leave my home to experience these things, but I’m glad that I had the opportunity.”

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In addition to being a tremendous student — she is nearly fluent in American Sign Language — Anderson is a cheerleader, dancer, president of the Black Student Union and is ready for her future at the University of California Los Angeles.

“I’m majoring in neuroscience, minoring in American Sign Language,” she said. “I picked neuroscience because I wanted to make an impact in the world. I know that we have a large opioid crisis, and I want to figure out how to change the way that we’ve been prescribing drugs.”

Anderson will be the first person in her family to attend college, and said she was looking forward to whatever challenges lie ahead.

“I just want to say thank you for sticking through it, supporting me, guiding me when I didn’t know it was possible,” she said. “I’m very blessed to be able to experience what I’ve gone through.”

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