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From Hard Times to Ivy League

June 9, 2017

Charlotte Housing Authority Scholarship Fund (CHASF) recipient Maurice Grier knows the definition of hard work. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill junior is a double major in political science and music. He also has a minor in philosophy, politics and economics. If you’re thinking he got to this point in life easily, you would be sadly mistaken.

            Maurice lived in a nice middle-class neighborhood on the east side of Charlotte.  Being the second youngest out of four boys, in a two parent home life was going great for him. Fourth grade is where life began to take a major turn. Problems at home began to get out of control, leading his parents to separate. Maurice’s mother took her four boys and moved out of the home. They moved all over Charlotte, and at times were homeless.  They were plagued with issues until they found a stable home at Nia Point.

            Maurice had no choice but to grow up fast. What used to be a certainty had now become a major concern.  There were days when he wasn’t sure if they would be food on the table, if they would have a roof over their heads or if the bills would be paid. Throughout all of these setbacks, his mother would always instill the value of having a great character and education.

            Maurice attended West Charlotte High School, this was a trying time for him. He had to endure a lot, but managed to show up to school every day and put on a smile. Maurice was physically assaulted during his sophomore year making an already bad situation worse.   Maurice channeled that energy into his school work so that he could have a brighter future.

            Maurice’s hard work paid off, not only did he graduate in high school in 2014, he received a scholarship to the University of North Carolina of Chapel Hill. Trying to figure out how he would pay for other college necessities, a counselor suggested he apply for the CHASF. To his surprise, he won.

             “It was like a weight being lifted off my shoulders. Receiving the CHA scholarship made life manageable, I don’t have to focus on money,” said Maurice. Given the opportunity to take full advantage of his college experience, Maurice studied abroad in London and Italy last year. He also ran for student body president.

            Maurice knows that he is blessed and wants to give back.   Today he is a co-president of an organization that mentors young people in Chapel Hill.

            Maurice has maintained his strong work ethic by completing all but one of his classes by his junior year and is set to graduate in 2018. Never letting up he also has been accepted to Cornell University’s Prelaw program this summer. We couldn’t be more proud of Maurice for the man he has become. Continue to overcome obstacles and be the leader you are!                       

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