Beating The Odds

Beating the Odds

Beating the Odds is an annual series that features remarkable students who seem destined to succeed despite overwhelming challenges, by education reporter Kavitha Cardoza.


Beating The Odds: Student Flees Cameroon, Starts Anew In D.C.

Georges Ngayap, 19, is a high school senior who came to this country as an asylum seeker just two years ago, and his tale of perseverance will inspire you.

Beating The Odds: Besting Food Allergies, Homelessness, On Path To Graduation

High school senior Coumba Gueye, has struggled with homelessness and debilitating allergies, but is now heading to college on a full scholarship.

Beating The Odds: Fighting The Stigma Of Schizophrenia

Dreonna Richardson's grandmother was taunted in their neighborhood because of her schizophrenia. Dreonna used it as an opportunity to educate other kids about mental illness.

Beating The Odds: A Teen Mom Who Refused To Be A Statistic

A stranger on the Metro told Tanizia Matthews that, as another teen mother, she was destined to be a statistic. She explains how, through regimenting her time, she is able to both raise her son and make it through to college.

Beating The Odds: Coping With An Incarcerated Parent

On top of the challenges of being a first generation immigrant, Blossom Ojukwu struggled to cope with the incarceration of her father. Despite her obstacles, she graduated high school with a 3.9 and is pursuing a career in the arts.

Beating The Odds: Finding Strength In Heartbreaking Loss

Having lost both his parents at a young age, 17-year-old Donavan Blagmon has learned how to stay strong and succeed without the outside support enjoyed by most other kids his age.

Beating The Odds: From Undocumented Newcomer To Valedictorian

Mongolian immigrant Enkhjin Tuvshinzaya has come a long way since moving to the U.S. without any English or education; today, she's the valedictorian for her high school class.

Beating The Odds: Making The Grades Without A Mother's Help

Jennifer Hightower's mother struggled with drugs and health problems, but that didn't stop Jennifer from excelling in school.

Beating The Odds: Channeling Pain Into A Creative Pursuit

A D.C. high school student who has lived with severe arthritis since she was 12 found freedom in creative writing—and soon she's off to college to study it.

Beating The Odds: Shooting Victim Hits The Books, Prepares For College

A D.C. high school student who was shot in the leg on her way to school is now about to pursue her college dreams.

Battling Homelessness, Crime On The Path To Graduation

Despite odds stacked against them, two students strive to finish school.

Shouldering Adult Responsibilities Along With School

Troniece Harrington had to shoulder adult responsibilities from a young age, including cooking, working part-time and taking care of her younger siblings. But she was determined to graduate.

Learning English As A High School Student

Josue Rosales came to the U.S. as a high school student from Bolivia and could barely speak English. The many hours her spent every evening looking up words in the dictionary and struggling with homework was worth it in the end.

Overcoming Learning Disabilities To Concentrate In Class

Gus Aluko tried every strategy he could think of to fight narcolepsy and ADHD so he could graduate high school including kneeling in class and asking classmates to prod him awake.