A shot at higher education may be something some kids take for granted, but not New Haven, CT resident Joseph Marini. Homeless throughout high school, Marini is one of 15 New Haven public school seniors who is getting a fresh start as a full-time student at the University of New Haven (UNH) though a scholarship program.
“Me being in a shelter, I don’t let that stop me,” he told The New Haven Independent. Working full-time at Subway while in high school, he worked hard to maintain his spot on the honor roll. Up until his last year of high school, he never let his peers know about his housing situation. “I want to break that stereotype that homeless people are nobodies,” he said.
His hard work paid off, as he was accepted to UNH’s Outstanding High School Senior Program, which allows high-performing seniors to enroll at UNH for free during the spring semester. He took “college before college” classes, upping his chances at getting in upon graduation.
“Life has its ups and downs,” he reasoned. “I don’t want to let my setbacks stop me from being who I am.” His long-term goal is to be a pharmacist and he aims to get a PhD. From his little time on campus, Marini is really excited to get started. “College is amazing,” he said. “The atmosphere, the attitude, the maturity.”
He hasn’t quite planned how he’ll make it all the way through the schooling he’ll need if he isn’t able to secure scholarships for the whole ride. But he isn’t worried–for now. He’s taking it one step at a time and looking at the positives. “I’m just a simple nobody coming up in homelessness making something out of my life,” he said. “I’m like that underdog and I’m becoming top dog.”
“If I inspire just one person—I don’t care who it is, any age—to make a difference, my goal is achieved.”
Read the full story here.
Girls, do you want to attend college? How does Marini’s story inspire you?