Christmas came early for a Compton teen who has been admitted to one of the most prestigious universities in the country.
Elijah Christopher DeVaughn - nicknamed "E-Jayy" - found out last night that he was accepted into Harvard University after applying as an early action candidate.
E-Jayy, a 17-year-old who commutes 45 minutes to the Chadwick School in Palos Verdes which he attends on a scholarship, said his rough Compton upbringing motivated him to succeed.
"I think that struggle - it ignites a fire under you to want to work hard and to want to do more," he said.
As a child, E-Jayy would lie on the floor as gunshots rang out right outside his door.
E-Jayy said he remembers his mother would scrape change together when he was 6 years old to be able to buy him a chicken sandwich from McDonald's.
His mother, Sherree DeVaughn, raised E-Jayy alone for 13 years while his dad was in a federal penitentiary.
Since then, E-Jayy and his father have renewed their relationship, and now the future looks a lot brighter.
While he will be entering Harvard with an undeclared major, E-Jayy said he hopes to one day become a neurosurgeon.
"He's something to be reckoned with," his mother said. "He's a gift."