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Finding a home — and success — in HISD

2015 May 21
by HISD Communications

When we talk about diversity in HISD, our homeless student population of about 6,000 doesn’t always come to mind — but it has certainly attracted attention recently. That is both well-deserved and heartwarming.

This week, I had the honor — twice — of seeing a remarkable young homeless woman from Bellaire HS receive funds to make her college dream come true. Graduating senior Alisa Hamilton persists to succeed in school and to set and meet high goals — despite unspeakable circumstances that have left her to fend for herself without parents or a home.

I awarded her the $10,000 scholarship that came when the Council of the Great City Schools honored me last October, and Thursday, she received another $5,000 from the Children’s Defense Fund as one of five Beat the Odds scholars in the Houston area.

Last week on her broadcast, Ellen DeGeneres awarded $100,000 to Peck Elementary School and its principal, Carlotta Brown, who hosts HISD’s Homeless Education Office on her campus. The award — perhaps the largest in the show’s history — came via Target’s Thanks a Billion program and honored how Peck, Brown, and HISD offer sanctuary to homeless students.

By finding a home with us, they learn that — if they apply themselves — their circumstances are no obstacle to success. We inspire them, and they inspire us in return.

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