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Once-Homeless Teen Headed to Harvard After Working as a Janitor to Get Ahead: 'It Depends on You and No One Else'


"If there is anybody at all who has a dream, then they can definitely make it happen"

In today's bleak economy, it is good to remember that there are still countless energetic youths in America who will work hard and sacrifice to achieve their dreams.  In this so-called "rags-to-riches" tale, the once-homeless 18-year old Dawn Loggins has been accepted to Harvard University on a partial scholarship after, among other things, working as a janitor and taking night classes to get ahead.

"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," she told WBTV.

When she was living with her grandmother as a child, she explained: "There was trash all over the house...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."

Everyone at school made fun of her, she said, to the point where she would just go home and cry.

But thankfully, thanks to Loggins' own ambition and the community's encouragement, her story did not end there.

"If there is anybody at all who has a dream, then they can definitely make it happen," she said.  "There are no excuses. It depends on you and no one else."

(Related: 'The Life of Julia' -- A.K.A., How Not To Live)

She continued: "There would be times we went without power or water for months at a time...[but] I remember doing my homework by candlelight ‘cause I am that determined to succeed."

According to the Daily Mail, the school's guidance counselor Robyn Putnam saw Loggins' true potential and took her shopping, remarking: "Do you like it?  Will you wear it?  Then put it in the cart."

The local dentist also gave her a toothbrush and toothpaste, and now the whole community has pitched in to get Loggins ready for Harvard. She has "new purple pillowcases, sheets, a mini-refrigerator and a desk lamp," according to the Shelby Star.

“Dear Ms. Loggins,” the Harvard acceptance letter read, “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…”

Loggins' father is currently being held in the Lincoln County Detention Center on a drug charge and could not be reached by his daughter, but her brother remarked that she never should have doubted herself.  Her grandmother reportedly screamed through the phone upon hearing the news.

Even Huffington Post commenters seem to have warmed to the girl and her story, one remarking:

"She had [help] along the way from other caring people, not some govt. program. She had the will and desire to HELP herself. Working as a janitor, nothing was beneath her dignity as some of these people seem to think, in order for her to achieve her goals. Congratulations to her!  She is already an American success story and an example that no obstacle is to great to conquer.  No Excuses."

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