Homeless teen track star graduates with full scholarship to college

"Going to school every day, not showing it, it was kinda hard. But I pushed through it, me and my mom," Carl Stephens said.

HENRY COUNTY, Ga. — A Henry County high school track star just graduated with a full scholarship to college -- all while he and his mom were living out of their car.

Carl Stephens, 18, just finished his senior year at Stockbridge High School where he earned multiple track records. But just weeks before graduation, Stephens and his mom found themselves evicted from their home.

Channel 2's Craig Lucie talked with Stephens about how he managed to keep focused on finishing school and winning track meets.

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"Going to school every day, not showing it, it was kind of hard. But I pushed through it, me and my mom," Stephens said.

Stephens' mother, Vickie Reid, works in the school cafeteria and as an assistant coach. They were forced out of their home the night before a big track meet.

"They came while we were at school and set all our stuff in our yard. It hit us hard," Stephens said. "I still went out and ran and got one of the top spots.

Stephens has been winning ever since. He broke the school record for the triple jump and set his own.


Stephens received five full scholarships by beating out the competition on the track.

As it turns out, his track talents run in the family.

"I was state and national champion, and I trained for the 1996 Olympics," Reid said.

On Friday, Lucie was at graduation when Stephens was given a prestigious award.

Principal Eric Watson said that, every year, he hands out the Principal's Award.

"It just puts a smile on my face, every time I thik about him," Watson said. "Students have to not only have talent, they've also shown dedication and perseverance to be successful."

This year, the award went to Stephens.

"It was one of the best days that ever happened to me," Stephens said. "No matter what situation, I can push to be the greatest."

In August, Stephens is headed to Jackson State University on a full scholarship. He'll compete in the triple jump and hurdles.