More than 100 NYC students defy odds to graduate while homeless

LOWER MANHATTAN, Manhattan -- More than 100 New York City students were honored for graduating high school and getting accepted into college -- all while living in homeless shelters.

On Thursday night, the Department of Homeless Services saluted its students who are bound for college.

Each student was gifted with a laptop and a duffel bag filled with freshman essentials.

"They're homeless because of the economics, the gap between rents and income," NYC Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks said.

Alexus Lawrence won a $2,000 scholarship for academic excellence. She's her high school valedictorian and is heading to Brooklyn College, on the path to become a pediatrician.

"I'm just thinking of how far I've come," Lawrence said. "You have your head down because it's shameful, some people may bully you if they knew you lived in the shelter system."

But Lawrence isn't the only one who held her head up high.

"See, I didn't believe in miracles until I got here," said Ronaldino Crosdale.

Crosdale is heading to Baruch College in the fall and plans to launch a lifestyle brand.

He also commuted to high school from a shelter.

"I didn't keep it a secret I just didn't really make it a part of me, you know?"

On any given night, more than 15,000 school aged New Yorkers will sleep in a city shelter. Among them the more than 100 future leaders honored Thursday night. College bound. Against all odds.
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