Homeless as a child, a young KC woman receives scholarship to University of Missouri

ByMichelle Pekarsky

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A young woman who grew up homeless in Kansas City during much of her formative years received acclamation Tuesday from the Jackson County legislature.

Alera Stewart attended the KIPP Academy, 2700 E. 18th Street, a college-preparatory charter school, and despite the challenges before her, she persisted and studied and has received a scholarship to the University of Missouri. She plans to study psychology.

“I was surprised but at the same time, pressure. I felt a lot of pressure. I want to,… I don’t want to let myself down or my support team because without them I wouldn’t be here,” said Alera.

“It wasn’t easy. Long nights. Long pick ups, overnight studying S.A.T. You name it,” said one presenter during the proclamation.

The Jackson County legislature said part of the reason she earned the scholarship is because while earning her high school diploma, she also volunteers at an Independence elementary school, is a member of the poetry club and works at a nursing home.

Alera’s grandmother, who was a source of guidance and wisdom, died of diabetes complications.