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Group Of Students From Public Housing Leaving For College

(CBS) -- They never allowed their circumstances to limit their dreams.

That was the key that propelled some 150 students from CHA housing to college.

CBS 2's Derrick Blakely reports.

Kimesha Branch grew up in public housing, but she's headed for a prestigious, private school, Lafayette College in Pennsylvania.

"The students were really down-to-earth, and I was really comfortable there," she says.

CHA resident Deandre Brown is bound for Emory University, on full scholarship.

"No matter what background you come from, you can still be successful," she says.

They were among 150 CHA students at a send-off party Monday.

"The stereotype is that these kids don't want to go to college, they'd rather stay at home, not work, or work in menial jobs, and just not do anything. These kids are showing they want to excel," says Acting CHA CEO Eugene Jones.

Just listen to Parisstacia Smith, who's heading to Denison University after a rough childhood bouncing between foster homes.

"Then, in 2011, I moved up here with my mom, and everything changed around. My grades started improving, because it reflected my new, better background," she says.

Since then, she's travelled to China and held a summer internship at Fermilab.

"I think it says the future is not always as bleak as the present. It's always going to get better," Smith says.

The CHA has offered some of the students $250,000 in scholarships. CNA also donated money for students to prepare for admissions tests.





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