She beat the odds and has a Standing O, too!

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Beating the odds

For most teens, high school is a bit of a challenge — there’s a new school, keeping up grades, doing homework, and let’s not forget high school algebra. But for 17-year-old senior Rosemary Rodriguez at the Rachel Carson School for Coastal Studies, those things were the least of her problems. Rosemary spent most of her high school years living in a homeless shelter.

Rosemary has overcome many obstacles that most teens never experience.

When her mother left an abusive relatioship, she tried to keep it all together, but eventually was forced to move into a homeless shelter. At first this experience caused Rosemary’s grades to suffer and she became depressed. But then that spark of inspiration lit up in Rosemary and she turned adversity into success. She beat the odds. She realized that she could help others by sharing her story — and by using her talents, she helped others who were battling their own challenges.

“Being homeless isn’t something to be embarrassed about,” she said. “Your living conditions shouldn’t determine who you are as a person.”

Now Rosemary mentors other at-risk teens and works with the Center for Court Innovation and the Children’s Defense Fund-New York’s college readiness program.

For her hard work, persistence, tenacity, and dedication, Rosemary was honored by the Children’s Defense Fund-New York with a $10,000 college scholarship. She plans on using the funds to succeed in her dream of becoming an FBI agent and pursuing her degree in criminal justice.

Standing O wishes Rosemary good luck in following her dreams.

Read Standing O every Thursday on!
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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