A few years ago, Laguards principal, Dr. Jocelyn McQuillan, and a group of staff decided to go to the UK and visit her daughter, Grace, who is attending the Laguaros High School in Whitnall, Lancashire.
The two-year trip was the first time Grace had visited the UK since her father passed away.
When she got to the school, Grace was shocked to see what she thought was a classroom full of kids.
“It was a mess, there were kids all around us and it was really bad,” Grace says.
“I was like, ‘Oh my God, they’ve just been out in the street for two weeks,'” she recalls.
The Laguardi High School, located just a stone’s throw away from her school, was home to many children who were homeless.
“They just didn’t know what to do with themselves,” Grace recalls.
“So I decided to help them and I got to see the other kids that I’ve grown up with.
They were just so good.”
Grace is an advocate for the homeless, which has been a big part of her life since she was five.
“We’ve always just kind of had these things called family and we’ve always had a good life,” Grace explains.
“And we’ve never been able to find our own identity and that’s where the homeless are coming from.
So it’s just so sad that this place has been like that for so long.”
But while Grace’s story is heartbreaking, the Lavalis High School has some positives too.
Grace says the school has a welcoming and supportive atmosphere.
“There are a lot of kids that have been in a lot worse situations than me,” she says.
“There’s lots of people there that are really good at helping kids and I think they’re all really excited to come to school.”
But just because Grace and her fellow students are in a different situation than her doesn’t mean it’s the same.
“Every student is different and I know I’m different,” Grace admits.
“So I’m just so thankful that I got a chance to do something that I love.”