100 homeless students honored for graduating high school

Wednesday, June 29, 2016
100 NYC homeless high schoolers honored for graduating
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Carolina Leid has the story.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- It was a special night for a group of high school students who had it rough growing up.

They were homeless and went from shelter to shelter for years.

But they didn't let their circumstance prevent them from achieving.

Despite all the odds, they're graduating from high school, and that's just the beginning of their bright futures.

Dashown Wilson, Jr. never gave up.

Despite bouncing from shelter to shelter, he remained focus on his school work and determined on the football field.

It's a lesson his single father taught him and his 9-year-old sister.

"I faced a lot of obstacles like moving along during the school years, and trying to make up a lot of work that I missed, and not wanting to tell my teacher what was going on," Wilson said.

This Bronx teen is on his way to SUNY Alfred State this fall on a full scholarship as a student athlete.

Dashown is one of 100 New York City homeless students honored Wednesday night in Midtown for earning their high school diplomas, each and every one now college bound.

"It's been hard for the last four years being in the shelter. Especially as a teenager, I feel like being in a shelter we have to do a lot of things like pressure from our peers," said Faith Newman, a graduate.

Newman will attend Brooklyn College in the fall, saying she has no doubt she will be a doctor.

Faith was one more than 82,000 city homeless students in 2015.

That's up from just over 67,000 in 2011.

Those numbers translate into incredible challenges including lacking basic school supplies to dealing with issues of violence and poverty.

Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña says the city continues to dedicate funds that will help produce even more of these success stories.

"I think the major feeling you have here today is the feeling of hopefulness not hopelessness. That's really what the message is today," Fariña said.