From Homeless to Harvard


A formerly homeless North Carolina high school senior will be heading to Harvard University this fall.

Dawn Loggins, 18, served as a janitor in the high school she attended.

She would wake up before sunrise to sweep the classrooms and clean the bathrooms. Later that day, she would attend advanced placement and honors classes in the rooms she had cleaned. At the end of the day, she would head back to clean again and take out the trash.

Dawn became homeless after her family was evicted. One day she returned from summer school to learn that her parents had left for another state, leaving her alone, with nowhere to live.

Dawn slept on the couches of friends until the school found her somewhere to stay.

In an interview with CNN, Dawn said her challenges began long before she became homeless. She described growing up amid neglect and filth.

“We had trash piled literally 2 feet high,” the girl said. “We’d have to step over it to get anywhere in the house.”

And when Dawn asked at school for candles, officials learned that there was no electricity and water at home.

Dawn and her brother once asked the school to use the laundry to wash their clothes.

And there were times when she and her brother would go days, and even months, without taking a shower.

Rather than turning the children over to the state when they were abandoned, school officials chose to provide for Dawn and her brother. Following the adage “it takes a village to raise a child” the school community banded together to help the children, finding them food, clothing and a place for them to stay. When Dawn got old enough to apply for college, CNN reported “that same village was now out to get her to college, but not any college: Harvard.”

Her history teacher wrote a recommendation letter for her: “This young lady has, unlike most of us, known hunger. She’s known abuse and neglect. She’s known homelessness and filth. But she has risen above it all to become such an outstanding young lady.”

Months passed, and Dawn received letters from state schools, but none from Harvard.

And one day, a thin envelope with a Harvard seal arrived,” CNN reported.

“I am delighted to report that admission committee asked me to inform you

that you will be admitted to the Harvard College of 2016, the report said.

Not only was she accepted, but her tuition and housing were to be paid for.

And that’s how Dawn Loggins went from homeless to Harvard.

Issues |Education

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