Rashema Melson, homeless D.C. student, gives valedictorian speech

(WJLA) - Rashema Melson’s walk up to the podium as Anacostia High School’s valedictorian may seem improbable to some – but her story is an undeniable inspiration.

"For the longest I was in the struggle in the goals of life," says Melson.

Read between the polished words of this bright, college-bound 18-year-old, and you’ll find hardship. Melson lives with her family at the D.C. General Homeless Shelter, and she has been homeless for three years.

Melson admits she has had doubts and at times lost hope along the way, but with the help of supportive teachers, staff, friends, and family, she has poured all she has learned through overcoming obstacles, into her studies:

"I wasn't going to give up, so I didn't give up."

While so many are proud in this moment, Melson believes the drive that got her here is what will sustain her throughout the challenges she will face at prestigious Georgetown University – where she will attend on a full scholarship.