When facing homelessness, bullying, and being abandoned by family, many people might be tempted to give up hope. But for 18-year-old Dawn Loggins, who was just accepted into Harvard University, this was not the case.
"When I was younger, I looked around at my family and I saw the neglect, the drug abuse, the bad choices and I saw my family living from paycheck to paycheck, and I just made a decision that I was not going to end up like my parents," Loggins told WBTV.
But her conditions only worsened after her parents abandoned her and she had to go live with her grandmother.
"When I lived with my grandma there was trash all over the house," Loggins told WBTV. "She never really explained to me like that it was important to shower -- it was important to take care of yourself, so I would go months at a time without showering. I would wear the same dress to school for months at a time."
More often than not, the teenager lacked basic supplies for her schooling -- something her Burns High School guidance counselor Robyn Putnam thankfully noticed.
“Do you want it? Will you wear it?” Putnam asked while taking Loggins shopping, according to the Shelby Star.
“Yes. I’ll wear it," the teenager responded, according to the paper.
“Then put it in the cart."
According to the Shelby Star, others pitched in to help the girl -- school faculty gave her money, and a local dentist providing her with toothpaste and a toothbrush.
After years of hard work, catch up, and at times even working as a school custodian, Loggins' dream finally became a reality when she opened her acceptance letter from Harvard.
“Dear Ms. Loggins,” the letter read, according to the Gaston Gazette. “I am delighted to report that the Admissions Committee has asked me to inform you that you will be admitted to the Harvard College class of 2016…We send such an early positive indication only to outstanding applicants…”
Not only did they accept Loggins, but they offered her financial aid that would cover tuition, room and board. According to the Gazette, the school is also helping her find a job on campus.
"If there is anybody at all who has a dream," Loggins told WBTV, "then they can definitely make it happen. There are no excuses. It depends on you and no one else."
Brittany Baker, Allegheny College/Sarah Lawrence College
I'm all for paying high prices for good value -- and my education was certainly of quality -- but I'm not in the market to be abused. From interest rates to the ease of borrowing, to confusion of terms and steadily climbing price of college tuition, I guess I have to thank all of the higher education system while I have the floor to speak. To the loan companies, the banks and private colleges: thank you. I and my peers will forever be indebted to you. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brittany-baker/debt-up-to-my-neck_b_945267.html" target="_hplink">Read more...</a>
Mike Vattuone, UC-Berkeley
I currently owe around $23,000 not including interest and Parent PLUS loans, which my mother is still generously paying off. She is 60 years old and works 11 to 12 hour days selling flooring, which her employers pay on commission and only if no mistakes are made. She can't retire because she has to help me pay back my loans, and she won't let me pay the PLUS loans myself. It's very frustrating. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-vattuone/colleges-catch22_b_945213.html" target="_hplink">Read more...</a>
Quinn Anderson, Boise State
As an average, working-class, white American male who is neither left-handed nor a great athlete, the options for scholarships available to me have always been slim. Combine that with my parents' income -- which is above Pell Grant eligibility and too high to be considered for greater loan amounts -- and you get my situation. At the end of the spring 2012 semester I will be $50,000 plus in debt, which means I will have reached my loan cap for borrowing. With a credit rating that sunk to an embarrassing low years ago, there is no way for me to borrow using private loans to finance my education. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/quinn-anderson/quinn-anderson-27-boise-s_b_943879.html" target="_hplink">Read more...</a>
Laquinda Settles, New York Institute of Technology
I graduated from the New York Institute of Technology in May 2010 with a degree in Communication Arts; I am currently working 2 part-time jobs with no benefits and making $12 an hour. I'm also so over my head in debt with college loans. It's to the point that I'm considering filing for bankruptcy. I went to college to educate myself and make more money, but it feels like I dug my own grave. College is one of the biggest scams in the world; some of these institutions charge students between $700-$800 per credit for an undergrad degree. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/laquinda-settles/a-degree-in-hand-but-what_b_951098.html" target="_hplink">Read more...</a>
Aleesha Nash, New York University
I am a 31-year old woman originally from Ohio working and living in New York City area. I graduated with a Master's degree in Speech and Interpersonal Communications from New York University's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development in 2007. Logging into the Federal Student Aid website I see that today my balance is $104,104.63 for a percentage of the information in my head. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/aleesha-nash/debt-thats-worth-it_b_945223.html" target="_hplink">Read more...</a>
Jaclyn Cabral, Elon University
I am a recent graduate from Elon University, a private school in North Carolina, and have $90,808 of college debt. Though my debt seems extremely high, Elon is also regarded as one of the most affordable private college educations. My story dates back to high school where my parents worked opposing shifts simply to make ends meet. I knew since middle school that I would go to a great college and venture away from my hometown. My motivation during the past 17 years of my educational career was to do well, go to a great college and then have no problem landing my dream job. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jaclyn-cabral/post_2357_b_945238.html" target="_hplink">Read more...</a>
Mike Newman, Ohio State University
I graduated from the Ohio State University with a fine arts degree in 2004. This is what I settled on after changing my major four times in my first three years at school. Clearly college wasn't for me, but I finished it because I wanted to make my parents proud and thought it would improve my life. Neither of my parents went to college, but they managed a pretty good life for themselves. Like all loving parents they wanted me to have a better life than them and were duped into believing that college was the answer. From the first day in elementary school to my last day in high school, we believed the myth that college was the only real path to success. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-newman/forced-to-fall-off-the-gr_b_945263.html" target="_hplink">Read more...</a>
Brandon Woods, Hampton University
I turned down a full ride at Michigan State (a school that ranks in the top 20 in my field, education) to get the HBCU (Historically Black College and University) experience at Hampton University. It was the best thing I could have done as far as experiences go, but the worst for my finances. They say you can't put a price on experience, but I can. Roughly $24,000 my freshman year, and it only got more expensive every year after that. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brandon-woods/i-should-have-listened-to_b_951080.html" target="_hplink">Read more...</a>
Erin Dunphy, Ithaca College
I grew up with an insatiable need to explore the world around me. So I knew when I was going to go to college I was going to do two things: One, major in journalism and two, leave my home. It was time for me to blaze my own path. I had worked hard throughout high school and did all those things they tell you to do to get as much money out of the process as possible. I was an honors graduate and was involved in almost every kind of extracurricular activity. I did my best to be the girl any college would want -- and therefore would hopefully give money that she wouldn't have to pay back. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/erin-dunphy/excited-for-the-future-ev_b_945253.html" target="_hplink">Read more....</a>