June 7th, 2012
10:58 PM ET

Student overcomes homelessness and gets into Harvard

It's before sunrise, and the janitor at Burns High School has already been down the length of a hallway, cleaning and sweeping classrooms before the day begins.

This particular janitor is painstakingly methodical, even as she administers a mental quiz on an upcoming test. Her name is Dawn Loggins, a straight-A senior at the very school she cleans.

On this day, she maneuvers a long-handled push broom between rows of desks. She stops to pick up a hardened, chewed piece of gum. "This annoys me, because there's a trash can right here," she says.

The worst, she says, is snuff cans in urinals. "It's just rude and pointless."

With her long, straight dark blonde hair and black-rimmed glasses, Dawn looks a bit like Avril Lavigne. But her life is a far cry from that of a privileged pop star.

She was homeless at the start of the school year, abandoned by her drug-abusing parents. The teachers and others in town pitched in - donating clothes and providing medical and dental care. She got the janitorial job through a school workforce assistance program.


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Filed under: 360° Radar
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. nicolefallat

    This is awesome! I just got an email from my alma mater with a similar story (Colby College), ah-mazing. The gal used the term "throw-away teen" when describing how she found herself homeless after her mom decided she was expendable. Thank you for covering!

    June 15, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  2. tanya

    harvard seems to have a thing for homeless. whenever we hear about a homeless person getting into a college it always seems to be harvard. they should all apply

    June 11, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • Bruce

      Harvard targeted students from elite backgrounds for centuries before realizing, under its current Dean of Admissions, that genius arises from a wide range of settings and they had been missing out on their share. They now actively seek top students from less-advantaged backgrounds and give those with annual family incomes under $60,000 full tuition, room and board scholarships.

      June 13, 2012 at 11:14 am |
  3. Chad

    Awesome story!! This is news I like to see and hear about... Success!! I think the media gives way to much credit by placing thugs and criminals in the spotlight...They need to be exposed but not glorified... more success stories like this of good things would be great! Way to Go Dawn Loggins!!

    June 11, 2012 at 11:28 am |
  4. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Its an inspiring story but I wonder how many negative comments would have been posted by conservatives and teapublicans had she been a young black woman or man!!! There are countless stories like this in urban America! It happens everyday!

    June 11, 2012 at 10:14 am |
  5. Sanjay

    What an inspiring story... My hats off to the young lady and everybody supporting her... May she be blessed with the best of all worlds ... Thank God we have kids like her ...

    June 10, 2012 at 3:03 am |
  6. Medhat

    These are the type of stories the media should look for , to inspire our youth, as for you Dawn you touched many peoples hearts, you will prevail, GOD bless you

    June 9, 2012 at 2:00 am |
  7. Charles

    I am not sure there are too many more inspirational people out there than Dawn. She is a role model that everyone, especially young people, can look up to and aspire to emulate. I truly hope that she succeeds at Harvard and with the rest of her life.

    June 8, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
  8. James Bolton

    Such a touching story, that should serve as INSPIRATION to all kids around the world. The name Dawn Loggins should be forever attributed to any time that the word HERO is used in a sentence. Thank you Dawn for touching the hearts of millions. I wish you all of the success and happiness in life that you have richly earned.

    Also, thank you Mr. Savidge for your outstanding talent in journalism,, for bringing this amazing story to us.

    June 8, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
  9. Renee

    Congrats young lady! I admire your dedication and courage. You have a bright future ahead of you!

    June 8, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  10. Teraisa

    Proof our kids can do so much better than we give credit for. And she did. She DOES. Thanks for a story that inspires change.

    June 8, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  11. misenga singh

    Very encouraging story. Oo

    June 8, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
  12. lee perry

    Dawn Loggins... ladies and gentlemen, hats off to this young woman,who has shown such drive and determination and left the cards they were dealt behind...Dawn has shown all of us, what hard work and dedication and a touch of fate can accomplish... shoot for the stars Dawn, and much love and respect...

    June 8, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
  13. Chad Gill

    How can your heart not go out to this kid?
    Great person.
    Great story.
    Community coming together to make sure one of their children would not be left behind.
    Sort of builds and re-energizes your faith in humankind, doesn't it?

    June 8, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
  14. John Smith

    Nice story, good to hear that someone who deservingly triumphs over almost seemingly obstacles. What is sad though, she has yet to overcome stoic emotionless feelings, to be able to feel the joy of success and good fortune, like my kid did when being accepted into an Ivy League College or any college for that matter. It should be a happy day with each acceptance letter.

    June 8, 2012 at 7:56 am |
    • tberg

      I completely agree with your very insightful comment....seems like the unfinished part of the puzzle

      June 8, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
  15. John Sayer

    I have never been as proud of anyone as Dawn Loggins. She makes me ashamed of my time wasted when I was in school, and I had the support of family. I just wish some of her friends at school could have helped her do some of her work so she could have a little free time for herself. Otherwise, her community shone brightly.
    I know her tuition, room and board are paid for, but if there is going to be a fund to help her with any other expenses, please let me know. I'd like to donate.

    June 8, 2012 at 2:41 am |