Homeless in Chicago: Exceptional Teen Graduates with Honors with Support from Counselor and Family
1 year ago
Teen Homelessness Big Problem in Chicago
At the complicated age of fourteen, when many girls are learning to live with their mothers, Chicago native Shannon Hastings was learning to live without hers.
Denise Hastings, 40, had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, when on the day of Shannon’s 8th grade graduation, she suffered a seizure from which she never recovered.
“My mom was always the person who said ‘education first,’” Shannon said. “Her memory, her smile, I keep it in the back of my mind. It keeps me on track.”
Because of that solid foundation, the help of relatives, and the invaluable tutelage of her guidance counselor, Shannon graduated this year as an inductee of the National Honor Society.
“My living situation was a struggle,” Shannon said. “I didn’t let it affect my school. I would come to school with a happy face like nothing was going on.”
Sadly, Shannon’s story is not unique.
According to The Chicago Tribune, of the 680 students at Shannon’s school, Hope College Preparatory High, 100 of them are homeless.
In January of 2011, The Tribune also reported on an 18-year-old Bolingbrook High School student who stayed at a group home with her brother. Forty other students at the school were also classified as homeless.