How a brilliant student went from homeless shelter to college with full scholarship

(Photo: Fotolia/smolaw11)

Despite the hardships he’s faced which includes living in a shelter, Odean Gray is a high school student who has beat the odds, and in August he entered State University of New York Cortland on a full scholarship.

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Gray is one of about 30 students who live in family shelters operated by WIN, which provides the shelters for many of the city’s displaced families, who entered college this fall, the NY Daily News reports.

Gray now has lives in the college dorm but his mom and brother are still housed in the shelter in East New York. The road and circumstances that led to their current housing situation was a rocky one. Gray and his family’s home was burglarized in 2016, which he said led to them moving in with an aunt in her cramped quarters.

He called his previous Rochester NY neighborhood, “the murder capital” of upstate New York.

“They robbed our house. It got really bad. So we moved down here,” he said.

He was 16 then. He said his family moved into his aunt’s house but it didn’t take long before things became intolerable for the family. He said his mother decided that they’ve move into a shelter.

He attended Progress High School in Williamsburg and was a member of the Varsity wrestling team. He earned top grades and was a force on the varsity team.

“Wrestling was my life,” he told the Daily News.

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His hard work paid off with a full scholarship and he will play for the college wrestling team.

Gray’s mother is proud of her son’s accomplishments.

“Even when we were in the shelter, he said ‘I can be what I want to be,’” she said.