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From Hurricane Katrina to Howard University

By Steve Majors May 5, 2015

Talitha Halley was 12 in the summer of 2005, growing up in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina slammed into her city, destroying Halley’s home, her community and her sense of place in the world, writes Lyndsey Layton in the  Washington Post.

Halley, her older sister and their mother escaped to the Superdome, a refuge of last resort that became notorious in the aftermath of Katrina as a scene of chaos and even more misery. 

When the flooding in the city finally subsided, the Halley family boarded a bus for Houston and Halley began a 10-year odyssey against a series of obstacles that will culminate May 8 when she receives a bachelor’s degree and becomes the first college graduate in her family.

“I feel like the way my life was designed, Katrina happened to benefit me,” said Halley. “It’s like a rose grows from concrete. We went through so much so that we could be successful.”

To read more about Talitha's journey and the support she received along the way from Communities In Schools and a circle of mentors who have helped her achieve success, read the full story in the Washington Post and then click to watch her appearance on MSNBC Live with Thomas Roberts.