A year after Chicago native Derrius Quarles’ father was murdered, social services took the five-year-old and his brother from his mother’s custody. He spent the next nine years in foster care and began a dangerous life of “crime and fast money” until one simple act of kindness turned everything around. After arriving late to a high school biology class one day, Quarles was confronted by his teacher, who took him aside and told him, “You have so much potential, and yet you choose to waste it.”
That display of encouragement was enough to inspire Quarles to dedicate himself to his studies and earn more than $1 million in academic scholarships and financial aid. He graduated from Morehouse College, determined to help other young people finance their education. So he wrote a book on the subject, “MillionDollarScholar: Winning the Scholarship Race,” and founded the business Million Dollar Scholar, offering downloads and an app that can help high school students discover scholarships they qualify for, free writing evaluation, resume templates, and online practice interviews.
In a video on his website, Quarles said, “I was going to use what happened in the past as a catalyst to really be able to change myself and use that as some type of inspiration to say that is not what I want for my family when I get older, that is not what I want for myself. I can be different.”