It has not been an easy road to success for Carlissa, though. While still a preschooler, Carlissa’s mother was killed at the hands of her father in a tragedy of domestic violence. With her father’s incarceration, no family members existed to take care of the young child. A family friend, Ms. Beverlyn Wingard, stepped forward and asked permission to assume the care of Carlissa and to serve as her legal guardian. A new and single parent, Wingard provided an excellent home environment for Carlissa and played a pivotal role in setting the standards for Carlissa’s subsequent achievements.