Freshman beats odds making education top priority

Indya Clark says school has always been what she calls her “getaway time.”

And in her short life, most would agree she has needed some getaway time.

She spent fifth grade homeless. “It felt like the longest year of my life because you never knew where you were going to sleep,” says Clark.

But it was also during fifth grade at an inner-city Denver school that her fate changed. Because of her good grades, she was chosen to be a part of the Challenge Foundation, a nonprofit that helps low-income students attend area private schools and eventually college. Clark ended up at St. Mary’s Academy in Englewood, Colo.

The intervention proved successful. Today, Clark is an incoming freshman at the University of Denver with a scholarship from the Daniels Fund. She plans to major in clinical social work and communications.

“I’ve used the pain and stress as a launching pad to escape my situations and serve as a reason for me to succeed,” Clark says. “So whenever I find something I want to do well in, I give it my all, knowing my hard work will take me where I want to go.”

She says education is her top priority.

“By working hard in my academic life, I’ve reached my highest of dreams,” says Clark, who adds that she becomes more “infatuated” with DU every day. “I love the atmosphere. I feel so welcomed. It’s such a pleasure to be around people who value education.”

Kristin Wells, the Challenge Foundation’s executive director, praises Clark and says she’ll be an “outstanding ambassador” in the community.

“Indya has many gifts, but above all, her electric presence will change lives,” Wells says.

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