In tragic loss, grad found her path

When a Destrehan High School diploma was placed in Chrystell Adams’ hand, it represented a profound achievement for a student who had endured great loss.

Adams said she considered her 4.42 GPA her proudest accomplishment in light of dealing with losing her mother and great-grandmother, and working a full-time job. She plans to attend Howard University in Washington to study political science and psychology and, ultimately, get a law degree.

She considered getting both degrees an edge in the courtroom.

“I hope to get into a firm, getting my footing and getting my name out there,” she said. “Hopefully, I will run for Congress one day and have a seat. I want to pass laws that help women and, specifically, African-American women on issues like abortion. If a woman is involved in a situation like rape, I think she should have the right to say if she wants or doesn’t want that child.”

Adams questioned what a child born of rape would think about being the product of that rape. She’s also a prison reform advocate.

Just six years old when she lost her mother and great-grandmother, she focused harder on her career goals.

“They died instantly,” Adams said of the car wreck that occurred on Dec. 16, 2006. “I walked away with a broken leg. I was the only survivor.”

The loss was incredible, but she gained a deeper understanding that set her on the steadfast path that took her to graduation and will lead her beyond that.

“By me losing my mom so young in life, it showed me life is short and to do what you want to do or it could be gone,” Adams said. “We were hit by an 18-wheeler turning into East Harding Street (in New Sarpy). They were hit head on. They died instantly.”

Adams went to live with her grandmother, who helped her along with her five siblings stay on track at school.

Despite her needs, she also reached out to help others, too.

“They were my rock, encouraging me to do the right things. Without them, I don’t think I could have made it this far.”— Chrystell Adams

“In my community, I mentored the young generation and gave them hope that they can get out of what we grew up in,” Adams said. “I grew up in New Sarpy, the poor side of Destrehan. The people who stay there get into drugs and other illegal things. For me to be able to say I’m going to Howard University is hope. I can do what I want to do.”

Adams is equally appreciative of being able to say she and her friends went to school every day and achieved what they did.

Additionally, she was active in numerous clubs, including National Honor Society, BETA, Student Council, drama club, Wildcat Mentor and more. She did this while also working full time to help her family financially.

The focus of her senior project was aimed at raising awareness for domestic violence.

Adams created a website that included stories from women who were in abusive relationships, facts on domestic violence and hotlines to help victims.

“I had my support system. I had all my brothers and sisters, aunts and grandmother encouraging me,” she said. “They were my rock, encouraging me to do the right things. Without them, I don’t think I could have made it this far.”

Chrystell Adams

  • Chrystell Adams was the sole survivor of a wreck that took the life of her mother and great-grandmother at East Harding Street in New Sarpy, an intersection with numerous wrecks.
    Adams is proudest of maintaining her 4.42 GPA despite these challenges.
    She is planning on attending Howard University in Washington to study political science and psychology, and then pursue a law degree.

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