Homeless DC teen becomes valedictorian

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- She is the valedictorian of her class at Anacostia High this year, heading to college with nearly $100,000 in scholarship offers. And that is not even the most impressive part of Rashema Melson's story.

WUSA9's Bruce Johnson reports she has had to overcome some big obstacles, including where to live, on her way to Graduation Day.

Rashema has a 4.1 grade point average and that includes a lot of college prep courses. She is valedictorian of her senior class at Anacostia High and heading to Georgetown University in the fall on a full scholarship.

That's not bad for a child growing up moving from house to house, town to town and one D.C. neighborhood to another. But even that doesn't begin to explain Rashema's full story; she is homeless.

Rashema lives in the city's family homeless shelter in what used to be D.C. General Hospital. She arrived at the shelter two years ago with her mother and younger siblings.

Anacostia students are challenged on several fronts. DC police officers are needed at the close of school every day to escort students home to guard them against the neighborhood gang violence.

Principal Ian Roberts says that while Rashema is uniquely talented and gifted, she is also a student athlete.

You can donate towards her efforts here.


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