Photo: screenshot via ABC News
You don’t run across a story this inspiring every day.Dawn Loggins, a North Carolina high school senior who was left homeless by her parents the summer before her senior year, is graduating tonight from Burns High School in Lawndale, NC.
While that’s quite the accomplishment, what comes next is truly amazing: Dawn is going to Harvard University in the fall.
CNN traveled to Lawndale and wrote a feature on the teen, who will appear on Anderson Cooper’s AC360 tonight.
Dawn grew up in a less-than-ideal situation, to say the least. Her house had no electricity or running water, so she was forced to do her homework in the dark and go days, even weeks, without showering. She lived with parents who abused drugs.
“We would get water jugs and fill them up at the park, using the spigots in the bathroom. And we would use that to flush the toilet or cook with. Stuff like that,” she told CNN.
At Burns, Dawn was nominated and accepted to Governor’s School, a one-month summer program in North Carolina for gifted high school juniors.
Dawn left for the program in June. She returned to Lawndale in July to find her house empty, with an eviction notice on the front door.
Dawn was officially homeless.
After learning she was homeless, employees at Burns helped her in any way they could. Sheryl Kolton, a custodian and bus driver at Burns, even let Dawn live at her house.
Dawn didn’t let her situation stop her drive to be successful. As a senior, she participated in typical high-school extracurricular activities at Burns: band club, photography club, cross-country and National honour Society. She also started a program collecting letters for active military troops and worked as a janitor at Burns to earn extra money — all while making straight A’s.
And like any other bright high school senior, she decided to go to college.
“When I was younger, I was able to look at all the bad choices — at the neglect, and the drug abuse, and everything that was happening — and make a decision for myself that I was not going to end up like my parents, living from paycheck to paycheck,” Dawn told CNN.
Dawn applied at four North Carolina schools and her dream school, Harvard. Earlier this year, she got an acceptance letter from the Ivy League school.
On top of being accepted, Dawn received a full scholarship to attend.
CNN wrote that since Dawn’s story has circulated worldwide, people have sent encouragement and money to the teen. Dawn doesn’t want the money for herself, though.
“When I get to college, I can work for what I need. And I know my future is going to be great,” she told CNN.
Dawn hopes to start an organisation to help other students with similar barriers in continuing their education.
If you would like to donate to this effort or send Dawn well-wishes, mail them to:
Burns High School/Dawn Loggins Fund
307 East Stagecoach Trail
Lawndale, NC 28090
We wish Dawn the best in the fall.
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