03/09/2013 10:14 am ET Updated Mar 09, 2013

Kim Tran, Once-Homeless Popular Virginia Teen, Gets Help From Caring Teachers (VIDEO)

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Many students may dread going to school, but for a Virginia teen who was once homeless, the sight of the classroom lets her breathe a sigh of relief.

“The school is like my refuge,” Kim Tran told NBC Washington. “It’s the one place where I feel safe, comfortable and actually feel loved.”

When the faculty at Dominion High School learned of the traumatizing experiences Tran had endured, they quickly banded together to help the star student who was at one point was living in a car, according to NBC. Teachers have given her gift cards for food and clothing. And her business instructor, Scott Russell, eventually invited the struggling student to live with his family and kids.

"It kind of meant the world to me," Tran told NBC. "It let me know that people are really kind and not everything is dark and things always get better."

Being homeless could derail anyone trying to get through high school, but many determined students across the nation have refused to let lack of a place to call "home" stand in their way of success.

While living in a shelter with her family in New York, Samantha Garvey, 17, committed two-and-a-half years to a marine-life study, in addition to her other school work, Newsday reported. Last year, the Long Island teen was named a seminfinalist in the national Intel science competition.

"The drive she has is unsurpassable," Garvey's guidance counselor, Karin Feil, told Newsday. "She has overcome more obstacles than any other student I have seen. She takes advantage of anything offered to her."



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