A teenager who was born in prison and spent the first 14 years of his life bouncing from care home to care home before finally being adopted has won a $40,000 scholarship to study at Florida Tech.
Talented football player Nyre Handy, 19, moved his adoptive parents to tears when he signed his letter of intent to play for the college team, having only picked up a ball for the first time five years before.
And their pride was doubled when Handy won the Patricia Means Scholarship, given out by the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, which will go towards his college tuition.
'I came from basically nothing, having nothing, it's just hard to say that I won a $40,000 scholarship,' said Handy, as he collected the award this week.
'They [my parents] knew I had what it took to win the scholarship and they were just very proud of me,' Handy told NBC2.
To win the scholarship, the 19-year-old submitted essays that were reviewed by moderators, who finally decided his was the most worthy of the lucrative prize.
'I was in survival mode for the longest. Things like staying out of trouble, finding the next meal I would say, all sorts of different things,' said Handy, who lived in six different foster homes before he was a teenager.
The road to the scholarship proved tough but his parents Amal-Brenal and Bill Kibler were on hand to support him the entire way.
When he was finally adopted, test shows his academic abilities were around the eighth grade level, despite his age putting him three classes above.
They fought to put him in tenth grade to allow him time to develop, and then again to allow him to compete it sports - which typically students held back would not be allowed to do.
Handy also had a powerful message for those from similar disadvantaged backgrounds: 'Never let anyone tell you you can't do something, because I've been told that millions of times, and it's definitely not true.
'Never give up on your dreams. So never give up on your dreams, keep working hard, keep working hard and just don't stop.'
Nyre Handy, 19, moved his adoptive parents to tears when he signed his letter of intent to play for the college team, having only picked up a ball for the first time five years before.