A New Jersey teenager who came to the U.S. as a child and spent part of his life homeless has overcome the significant obstacles to gain acceptance to 17 colleges, according to WLNY-TV.
Dylan Chidick was 7 years old when he and his mother moved to the United States from Trinidad. Dylan was able to gain citizenship, but his family still struggled mightily for years.
"My family went through a lot and there has been a lot of people saying, 'you can't do that,' or 'you're not going to achieve this,' and me, getting these acceptances, kind of verifies what I have been saying: I can do it and I will do it," Dylan said.
How did he make it this far?
Dylan's mother, Khadine Chidick, carried a heavy burden for the family as a single mother. Dylan also has two younger twin brothers who have both had surgery for serious heart conditions.
Khadine sought assistance from the nonprofit Women Rising, which helped them receive permanent supportive housing.
"She is a great example in doing everything necessary to help her children," said Roseann Mazzeo, the executive director of Women Rising.
Dylan said his mother's efforts inspired him.
"Making herself vulnerable and putting herself out there, that made me determined to never let us get back in that situation again," Dylan said.
What's next for Dylan?
Although Dylan has gotten 17 acceptance letters, there is one more that he really wants to get — to his school of choice, the College of New Jersey.
Dylan, who became the senior class president at Henry Snyder High School, hopes to major in political science wherever he ends up.
"The dream I want to achieve, I have to have a lot of determination," Dylan said.