Rebecca Schmitt and Jakobi Horn of Maynard Jackson High School in Atlanta have both been homeless at one point—contributing to Atlanta’s population of nearly 1,800 homeless students.
Shmitt, who was recently named valedictorian, and Horn were selected for this year’s Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) program, honoring Georgia’s outstanding high school seniors and the teachers who have been most instrumental in their academic development.
These students were homeless and “beat the odds” but they shouldn’t have had to and they shouldn’t be the exceptions. The experience of most homeless students often goes unnoticed by school and community members, increasing the physical and emotional trauma that students may face.
There are steps that schools as well as faith communities and community-based organizations can take to support homeless students.