SoCal high school students who live in public housing and heading to college are honored

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Forty-six high school seniors and their families Thursday celebrated achievements many will never understand. All of the students live in Section 8 or public housing developments, and all of them are going to college.

"At first, I wanted to go to UCLA, UC Berkeley, and then I discovered the Ivy Leagues. They became my dream, a dream I thought I couldn't achieve until I actually got the letters," said Yale-bound student Roxanna Andrade.

The Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles is giving scholarship money to their brightest tenants through the Kids Progress Inc. Scholarship Fund -- tenants like Roxanna Andrade of Boyle Heights, who will attend Yale University in the fall.

"I would not be able to go to college without all these grants and scholarships, so gratitude is what I feel the most towards these people," she said.

Many of the students are first-generation college students. Some struggled to put food on the table, all while maintaining exceptional grades.

"When they come home from school, often their parents are not home to help them. They don't have tutors, they have to do things on their own," said Housing Authority of the City of L.A. Commissioner Dan Tenenbaum.

Keynote speaker and former L.A. Laker A.C. Green was a first-generation college student, too. He knows what it's like to struggle and overcome, just like every person in the room.

"They didn't get distracted by that, they didn't lose hope or vision or faith. So we as adults need to support them," he said.

In total, the students are receiving $51,000 to continue their education.
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