Massachusetts teen goes from homeless to Harvard

NEWTON, Mass. — A Massachusetts teen who was once homeless will now attend Harvard.

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Imani Fonfield led protests in Newton last summer to honor the memory of George Floyd, who was killed by police in Minneapolis, and this year was the graduating class speaker at Newton South High School, WFXT reported.

“Last summer was full of passion, full of emotion and raw realizations about our society,” Fonfield said at the ceremony Thursday.

Mother Gladys Fonfield said her daughter has overcome challenges since she was born prematurely. When she was in kindergarten, the family was homeless. Later, her older sister Joi died suddenly from an asthma attack in seventh grade. Imani wore a kente cloth at graduation in her honor.

“Imani has thrived since she was born,” Gladys Fonfield said. “It was her self-determination then that took care of me and always has.”

Imani Fonfield was also accepted to Yale, Boston University, Northeastern, University of Connecticut and UMass Amherst. Ultimately, she selected Harvard, where her sister always wanted to go.

“It was a very emotional experience,” she said. “It felt very liberating for me and my family. I am a first-generation college student.”