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Formerly homeless girl now tops her class
Young woman overcomes tough odds

By Everything Underground


Trameka Pope's early life fits a lot of the usual stereotypes and pathology that folks trot out in reference to young Blacks. She had a baby girl the summer after finishing eighth grade. She was also homeless for a while.


But Pope, now a Chicago high school senior, is living proof that a rough start doesn't always translate to a hopeless life. She's now a Chicago high school senior with more than 26 college-acceptance letters and has been awarded more than $600,000 in scholarships, according to a recent story in "People" magazine.


She's also been interviewed by her hometown TV station. I was told that God don't make mistakes and he wouldn't give anyone a child who wasn't ready for one," Pope told Fox 32 News.


Pope also told the news station that at one point during her struggles, she and her family were homeless. But that didn't stop her. She was a cheerleader, worked at a grocery store and is a member of the National Honor Society.


She is also the valedictorian of the graduating class at Chicago's Wendell Phillips High School, and she has already taken college-preparatory courses at a local college. 


"I didn't give up. I pushed myself hard. And my baby motivated me every day because I wanted to provide for her and I also didn't want to be a statistic," Pope said.


Pope's school counselors helped her apply to college, and staff members from the Chicago Public Schools took her on college tours. Her social worker, Dawn Jackson, described Pope as an example of how teen parents can persevere and still do incredibly well in school if they put in the effort and are helped. 


No matter what background you come from, it doesn't matter if you have a child as a teen, no matter what people say about you, you still can, you can make it and you can become something," Jackson added.


She plans to attend Western Illinois University and hopes to get her Ph.D. in social work.


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