“No children should go through a tough childhood,” so begins an essay by Alexis Estep, who grew up in just such a tough childhood in West Virginia and Kentucky. When she was three years old, Alexis’ father died from a drug overdose. Her mother abused drugs as well, often leaving Alexis and her brother and sister home alone. “I have pretty much raised my little sister by myself and my brother,” Alexis told Education Week. The family was constantly on the move as Alexis’ mom bounced between boyfriends and husbands. Alexis said her mother eventually abandoned them, choosing her drugs over her children. Alexis’ brother is now in the Air Force and living on his own. She and her sister were adopted by Robert and Barbara Boardman, a couple who has fostered 16 children. Alexis is now thriving, ready to graduate high school with plans to go into early-childhood education. She credits the Boardmans, teachers who believed in her, and her own resilience, for her success.