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Millington product Alexus Fraser overcomes lifetime of adversity to reach Ivy League school

By Thomas Sellers Jr.

Fraser's life has been impacted by people like Judge Cary Woods, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Woodstock Principal Eric Linsy.

Fraser’s life has been impacted by people like Judge Cary Woods, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Woodstock Principal Eric Linsy.

Alexus Fraser with Linsey Alexus with Condi RiceMEMPHIS — Alexus Fraser, this is your life.
The Lausanne Collegiate School senior commented at the end of her College Announcement Celebration the events of the day reflected the 1950s NBC series. As person after person reflected on her journey from adoption to Princeton, Fraser smiled in amazement saying, “I didn’t realize I did all those things.”
From Shelby County Commissioner Terry Roland’s proclamation to Millington Mayor Terry Jones presenting her a Certificate of Achievement on behalf of the city, the day belong to Fraser.
Family and friends gathered at the Church of Edge in Downtown Memphis to celebrate Fraser’s selection of Princeton over UNC Chapel Hill, Duke, Tennessee, William & Mary, and Virginia.
“I chose Princeton because it’s so prestigious,” Fraser said. “And I actually went for a visit for the first time last week. That was my first time going to New Jersey and I felt very welcomed. I met all kinds of people. And I’m used to diversity at my school Lausanne.
“We’re very diversity,” she continued. “We represent a lot of countries and cultures. Princeton offers that same diversity background, meeting different people from different incomes and different cultures, different religions, different races and everything. And they also offer and have a wide variety of programs I can look into because I’m undecided on my major. And I wanted to experience something different because I’ve lived in the Memphis area my whole life.”
Fraser’s life in Memphis/Millington has been a test of endurance. When she was about 8 years old, Judge Cary Woods gave Fraser’s aunt Theresa Orr and uncle Michael Dunson a chance to raise her and her siblings.
Alexus and her siblings were removed from a home with parents addicted to meth. Going some days without power and searching for food to eat, Alexus welcomed the chance to live with her new mother Theresa.
“My adversity has motivated me,” Alexus recalled. “It’s given me an example of what I should not be basically. I wanted to overcome and become an advocate against drugs. No matter what your situation is, you can overcome and become whatever you want.
“I had drug addicted parents and I’ve overcome other things,” she continued. “I just choice to focus on positive things in my life like having a new family, receiving a scholarship to a private school. I wanted to take advantage of those opportunities and make the most of those. I wanted to get involved in my community and get involved in my schools. Which has led me to where I am today.”
Fraser’s journey started in the third grade in the caring arms of Lucy Elementary teacher Charlene Cockrell. Orr shared many conversations with Cockrell on adjusting to raising Alexus and helping her excel.
Cockrell was at the ceremony fighting back tears. She spoke along with other Roland, Jones and master of ceremonies Denise Beyer.
Fraser’s education started as an Eagle at Lucy. She soared to the Aggie Nation of Woodstock for middle school. There she increased her community service with projects and G.L.O.W. Meanwhile she was active in Girl Scouts.
The regional and national awards started to rack up. There helping Fraser to follow the Aggie Creed was Woodstock Principal Eric Linsy. He spoke on how Fraser matured into a intelligent civic leader in the Millington area. But when it came time for high school, Fraser had a chance to attend school outside of the Millington area going to Lausanne. There she would reach an even higher level through the school and the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation.
Fraser spent this past summer in Spain for a month doing a study program. That was added to her travel lodge of Washington D.C. multiple times, Chicago doing community service, varies trips to Virginia, attending a summer program in Los Angeles and spending three weeks at Duke in Durham, N.C.
The resume’ services are inspiration to Fraser’s siblings Noah, Matthew, Chloe, Ethan and Zadie. And the people holding the family all together were Theresa and Michael.
Michael expressed gratitude to Judge Woods for giving them a chance and the help needed to raise the children and keep them together. Theresa became Alexus’ biggest cheerleader and the one who kept her in line for a chance at Princeton.
Orr read her daughter’s letter to the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation landing her a scholarship. Fraser expressed how the pains of her past motivated her to achieve.
Lausanne’s college advisor Martha O’Neill spoke on the impressive academic achievements of Fraser. The 18-year-old received kind words from many in attendance, hugs from people in her past like Lucy building engineer Willie Hampton. Even Kim Beecham of Sparco presented Alexus with a new notebook laptop for college.
Fraser was overwhelmed by it all including the letter from her mother encouraging her on the next chapter in her life — Princeton.
“They have been just as big to this process as I have,” Fraser said. “I owe so much of my success to my family and friends and the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation for supporting me in everything despite my circumstance.
“I appreciate them being there for me before all of this success,” she concluded. “To my fellow G.L.O.W. members, just know you can accomplish anything you want as well. We can go out and achieve and always remember your family.”

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April 2015
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