Porter's perseverance: Concord senior overcomes homelessness, abuse

By  | 

On Dec. 20, Concord hosted New Prairie in a girls basketball game. During that game, Minutemen star senior Alexa Porter took a hard fall and didn't get up.

After doing some tests, it was determined Porter had torn her ACL, and her season was over.

Today, Porter is up and walking, and working hard to be back in time for her freshman season at Trine University, where she'll continue her basketball career.

After all the battles she's fought – and won – throughout her young life, a torn ACL might just be the easiest.

Every year, more than 2 million children in the United States will face a period of homelessness. For much of her life, Alexa was a part of that statistic.

According to a study of youth in shelters, nearly 50 percent reported intense conflict or physical harm by a family member as a major contributing factor to their homelessness. Count Alexa in that group as well.

An alcoholic father. A drug-addicted mother. Bouncing around from relative to relative. Abuse every step of the way. It's a heart breaking story, but unfortunately, one that's too common.

What's uncommon, though, is Alexa Porter's determination to break free.

"It gave me hope, that if I worked as hard as I can, I could end up going to college possibly and get a scholarship for it," Porter said.

Her way of doing that came through sports.

While living in a homeless shelter, Alexa found a basketball game on TV and became hooked.

It was around that time that Alexa moved in with an aunt living here in Indiana and enrolled in Concord schools.

Despite the unstable living situation, Alexa excelled -- both academically, boasting a 4.02 GPA, and athletically, playing three sports: cross country, track and, of course, basketball.

But during her junior basketball season, right before Concord was about to start sectionals, adversity struck once again.

Her aunt was evicted from her home and was leaving for West Virginia. Again facing homelessness, Alexa didn't know what she was going to do, and that's when one of her coaches stepped in.

"So, one day, I came in right before practice, I was upset, and I talked to Coach Read, I felt was one of the closest people I was with at the time," Porter said. "I just talked to her about everything that was going on, and she basically offered me a place to stay, so then ever since then, I've been staying with them."

Teri Read was the assistant coach for the Concord girls basketball team. She had developed a rapport with Alexa, and when Alexa needed a home, the Reads took her in.

"To me, it's a no-brainer," Read said. "She's great. She's a great kid, she's a great person, I think that she deserves nothing but the best. We can bring her to our house and nurture her, love her, all that, then why not?"

"It's been fun," said Teri's husband and the Concord athletic trainer, Jim Read. "Being her dad is one of the proudest things I've been able to do in I don't know how long."

Now, for the first time, Alexa has a stable home and a family.

She will graduate from Concord High School in June and then head down to Trine, where she will play basketball on a full scholarship.

Her dream job is to be an anesthesiologist. And while she admits that's a long shot, it'd be foolish to count out anything Alexa Porter sets her mind on.

"She's a very smart, talented individual with lots of amazing things in store," Jim Read said.

"Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard," Porter said. "That's always been my motto, so I feel like if I can get through all that, there's nothing that I'm not going to be able to get through."

For her incredible courage and perseverance, Porter has been awarded the Thomas A. Brady Comeback Award - given annually to one high school girl and boy in the state of Indiana who has overcome adversity and returned to excel on the field.