Dallas ISD dropout becomes SMU standout with full-ride scholarship

As a ninth grader, Aliyah Reeves had gone to the streets after giving up on school.

But one woman did not give up on her. Four years later, she’s now headed to SMU on a full academic scholarship.

The 18-year-old knows all too well that life can be a real tug-of-war.

“I didn’t believe in myself at all. I looked at my surroundings and where I came from. And I’m like people like me don’t have to make it. I can just live life,” Reeves recalled. “I wasn’t thinking about my future at all. I really gave up on myself.”

At 14 years old, Reeves dropped out of school. Then, she met Linda Nunley. She filled the void in her life, becoming like a mother.

“She saw me. She said she fell in love with me and just started to babysit me,” Reeves said. “I stopped running away from home, thinking that I didn’t have no one there for me.”

Nunley gave the proper attention and affection to help Reeves reverse the road her life was on.

“She has come a long way in the last four years,” said Katie Eska, Reeves’ principal. “But this year, I’ve gotten to know her as a leader on campus and as a leader for other students.”

Reeves was awarded an academic scholarship to SMU. With parents no longer in the picture, Nunley became more than a stand=in mom. This March, she adopted Reeves and her brother.

“It was like a fresh breeze of air,” Reeves said. “I was like, wow. I actually have someone to call my family.”

Reeves now knows if you don't let go of the rope and keep pulling, you can win the tug-of-war for your life.

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