On Saturday, 23-year-old Rashema Melson graduated from Georgetown University defeating the odds against her. You see, Melson grew up in Washington, D.C. with her mom and two brothers where they lived in a homeless shelter located in the former D.C. General Hospital and next to the D.C. jail. Despite her circumstances, Melson earned straight A’s, graduated as valedictorian from Anacostia High School and went on to attend Georgetown University where she earned a full scholarship and additional assistance through the Georgetown Scholars Program. This program was created 15 years ago to bring more ethnic and socioeconomic diversity to the school.
Melson’s graduation is quite remarkable when you consider the odds against her. According to census data published by the Washington Post, only 9 percent of the United States’ poorest young people — those whose family income puts them in the bottom quartile — earn a four-year college degree by age 24. By comparison, 77 percent of young people in the top quartile earn four-year degrees by 24.
I am so inspired by Melson’s story of perseverance, hard work and dedication. You can read more about her incredible journey in Sunday’s Washington Post. I am honored to call myself an alumnus of Georgetown University alongside this incredible young woman who’s story will continue to inspire so many others. Hoya Saxa!