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10/24/2014 05:44 pm ET Updated Oct 24, 2014

First Generation College Students: The Optimist

Keresoma, or “Soma” Leio comes from a tightly knit Samoan family. Through high school, he lived in a small three-bedroom home in south Los Angeles with nine other members of his extended family. The living room couch was his bed.

As a student at Paramount High School, Leio was very involved in extracurriculars: he was a two-sport athlete, president of the school’s Pacific Islanders Club, played drums for his church band and was an avid Haka warrior dancer.

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