Homeless valedictorian Rashema Melson has earned a full scholarship to Georgetown University. The Anacostia High School graduate made headlines, as she managed to overcome incredible odds. Although she and her family have lived at the D.C. General Homeless Shelter for three years, Rashema graduated first in her class.
Rashema’s father died before she was one year old. As her mother had few resources, she and her two brothers were raised in poverty. Throughout her childhood, Rashema and her family moved numerous times. They often settled in dangerous neighborhoods, where crime and violence were a way of life. Rashema said it was difficult, but her family persevered:
“That’s an every month thing — another challenge, another battle, another obstacle in your way and then you go right through it. That’s the only way through the storm, you go right through it.”
Although she managed to beat the odds, Rashema said it was a struggle to remain positive:
“I started to give up but then I saw signs that God was not putting me through this to punish me but to show others how to be resilient and persistent in the goals of life.”
During her acceptance speech, the homeless valedictorian thanked her family, teachers, and coaches, for their support and encouragement. As reported by WTOP, she credits her supporters for keeping her motivated when things got tough.
Rashema said she is proud of her accomplishments. However, she said “it’s one step forward… it’s not over yet.”
As reported by WUSA9 News, Rashema Melson will complete her bachelor’s degree at Georgetown University before moving on to medical school. She hopes to become a forensic pathologist.
Rashema has shown incredible determination. Without a doubt, she possesses the willpower to overcome any obstacle. She hopes her story will inspire others to beat the odds and follow their dreams:
“Life is not fair. Life is not fair. But despite that harsh reality, you must keep striving for success through the pain, tears, and feeling of lost hope.”
Although she was raised in poverty, Rashema understood the importance of a good education. Indeed, her hard work earned her a scholarship to one of the finest universities in the country.
Rashema Melson is excited to begin the next chapter in her life. Making the switch from a homeless valedictorian to a college student will likely be difficult. Fortunately, Rashema has proven success in overcoming difficult situations.