Kennedy High junior has inspiring ascent from a harrowing childhood


The nonprofit For Richmond shared an inspiring story Tuesday about a Kennedy High student who has persevered at school and in life despite enduring an abusive, unstable childhood.

Elexis Webster, 17, of Richmond, is a junior who maintains an A average, participated this past summer in Richmond’s Ivy League Connection, and plans to become a physiologist after attending UCLA. She also has personality, a quality that helped earn her an invite to this weekend’s Miss Teen Oakland pageant competition. The regional contest is set to take place at the Holiday Inn Capitol Plaza in Sacramento.

Webster’s impressive young resume suggests she has solid support at home, but that’s only been the case for the last four years.

Her foster mother, Millard Clay, says Webster grew up in a family of eight children with a severely abusive, substance-abusing mother.

“Constantly moving from one motel to the next, the sisters frequently were forced to wait all day and into the early evening outside their room so their birth mother could be alone with her boyfriend,” For Richmond reported. “According to Clay, every New Year’s Eve, the girls suffered a brutal beating at the hands of their birth mother, who said that it was for ‘all the bad things they will do throughout the year.'”

Thankfully, Child Protective Services intervened and for the past four years Webster and one of her sisters have been staying with Clay, who was described as “their legal guardian and guardian angel.” Clay has in total five foster children, all of whom perform well at school. Even though Webster was forced to miss fifth through seventh grades due to severe illnesses, she has manged to catch up.

“This is a 4.0 house,” Clay said.

Clay described Webster as “such a positive young lady,” adding, “I know that she will be an inspiration to others.”

If Webster is crowned Miss Teen Oakland, she will head to Orlando, Fla. on an all-expense paid trip to represent Oakland and surrounding communities in the national competition.