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Homeless, abandoned teen bound for Harvard University

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LAWNDALE, NC (WBTV) - 18 year old Dawn Loggins has an amazing story to tell.  She has been homeless, abandoned by her parents, and called a high school dropout.

But she didn't let those challenges stop her from living her dream of one day attending an Ivy League University.

She was accepted to Harvard University.  She said her motivation came from her experiences.

"When I was younger," Loggins said.  "I looked around at my family and I saw the neglect, the drug abuse, the bad choices and I saw my family living from paycheck to paycheck, and I just made a decision that I was not going to end up like my parents. I wasn't going to end up having to decide should I buy food this month or should I pay my rent."

The graduating senior's struggles started when she was forced to live with her grandmother.  Her parents abandoned her.

"When I lived with my grandma," the senior said. "There was trash all over the house.  She never really explained to me like that it was important to shower - it was important to take care of yourself, so I would go months at a time without showering. I would wear the same dress to school for months at a time."

During that period,  she says that's when the teasing and bullying started at school.

"They would say you are pretty, pretty ugly," Loggins said. "It actually got so bad at a point in middle school, I would go home everyday and just cry."

At 13 Loggins' mother and step-father came and she lived with them.  Things didn't get better. 

"We were evicted several times," the senior said.  "I went to three different middle schools, three different high schools."

The graduating senior said when she and her family did have a place to stay, it was still rough.

"There would be times we went without power or water for months at a time," Loggins said. "I remember doing my homework by candlelight cause I am that determined to succeed."

And she did succeed. She gasped when she opened her acceptance letter from Harvard.

"I was proud of myself," the student said. "Because not only was I able to get into Harvard, but I was able to distinguish myself from the other 36,000 other applicants."

When Loggins enrolled into Burns High School as a 10th grader, she was considered a high school drop out.  She had missed two months of school.  She says she took online classes so she could catch up in her work.  Now she is taking AP and Honor classes.

"If there is anybody at all who has a dream," Loggins said. "Then they can definitely make it happen. There are no excuses. It depends on you and no one else."

Loggins wants to major in Biology.

"I want to help with new discoveries," Loggins said.  "And I want to help make the world a better place."

The student is now on her own.  She makes a living as a custodian at Burns High school. 

Harvard is giving her some scholarship money - to get the rest of the money she will have to work for.  She says the community has helped her get this far and is grateful for all they have done.

"There is always help for those who ask for it," Loggins said. "There is always help for people who need it.  The generosity of this community is amazing."

Anyone who wants to donate to the fund established for Dawn Loggins at Burns High School may do so at this address:

Burns High School/Dawn Loggins Fund

307 East Stagecoach Trail

Lawndale, NC 28090

Make checks payable to "Burns High School/Dawn Loggins Fund"

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