High School Senior Overcomes Homelessness To Become Valedictorian

If we had to choose one word to describe 16-year-old Rebecca Schmitt, it would be resilient. In 2010, Rebecca's mother was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a treatable, but incurable type of blood cancer. "After her bone marrow transplant (in 2012), my mom was rendered disabled and unable to work," Rebecca said. 

As a result of the unforeseen circumstance, by October 2014, they were evicted from their home due to foreclosure. The two then relocated from West Palm Beach, Florida, to San Diego, California to seek the best healthcare for Rebecca's mother. However, after no longer being able to afford it, the mother and daughter moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where they have since lived in a hotel.  

Nonetheless, Rebecca, who skipped the fourth grade, has managed to earn a 4.2 grade point average and become valedictorian of Maynard Jackson High School's graduating class, all while taking care of her mother. Rebecca is also student government secretary, captain of the tennis team, and a member of her school's orchestra and National Honor Society. 

The school district has provided Rebecca with help and support since finding about out her living situation. Rebecca has also received a $250 scholarship from the Dukes Foundation, and a $1,500 scholarship from The Robin Latimore Foundation. 

So far, Rebecca has been accepted into 3 out of the 17 schools she's applied to: Spelman College, The Georgia Institute of Technology and Washington University in St. Louis. Rebecca hopes to one day become a teacher, sharing, “My teachers have inspired me so much in the past that I’d like to continue that cycle of inspiration.”

Congratulations, Rebecca! Your incredible ability to persevere in the face of adversity in an inspiration to us all. 


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