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Education

Five Grads Awarded College Scholarships For Perseverence In Spite Of Homelessness

Five Pittsburgh-area high school graduates were honored at an awards ceremony Tuesday for their achievements overcoming homelessness.

They each received $2,500 Hope Through Learning grants from the Homeless Children’s Education Fund, which caters to young adults who are experiencing or have experienced homelessness during their school attendance years and are going on to a higher education or a career training program for the first time.

“They can use it for tuition and books if they choose, but they can also use it for transportation costs," executive director Bill Wolfe said. "They can use it to buy themselves a computer that they might need for college. If (they are) is a single parent, they can even use the money for child care.”

Homelessness is defined by fund administrators as lacking a fixed, regular and adequate night-time residence, and includes students living in a shelter, car, motel, doubled-up situation or places not meant for human habitation.

The fund's trustees reviewed applications and selected the five recipients, including Anne Hmundson, of Pittsburgh CAPA and wants to study theater arts at University of Pittsburgh; Avana Overton, of City Charter High School and plans to enroll at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania; and Rikki White, of Propel Braddock Hills High School and expects to study forensic science at Duquesne University. Two wished to remain anonymous.

Wolfe said the non-profit is very proud of this year's group. They’ve each overcome tremendous obstacles in their lives to successfully graduate high school and be accepted into college, he said.