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PUBLISHED: 17:41 EST, 3 June 2012 | UPDATED: 18:36 EST, 3 June 2012
Any high school students lucky enough to be accepted to Harvard University can easily count themselves among the country’s best and brightest.
The story of David Boone’s journey from sleeping on a park bench to one of Harvard’s dorm rooms, certainly stands out from the crowd of his peers, however.
David, a 17-year-old senior at a MC2Stem, a high school in Cleveland, Ohio that focuses largely on engineering and science classes with the help of a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, was offered a full-ride scholarship to Harvard in the fall.
Success story: David Boone, 17, was offered a full-ride scholarship to Harvard which will be a stark contrast from the years he spent while homeless in Cleveland, Ohio
His family life has been complicated for the past few years after gangs and economic hardships resulted in him being separated from his family and forced to fend for himself on the streets and park benches in Cleveland.
‘When I was 14 years old, my family and I lost our home to gang violence. I refused to join the gang, so they retaliated, leaving bullet holes in our house and our family,’ he wrote as part of a blog series for The Huffington Post.
His siblings split up to stay with various family friends, but because of space issues and his allergies to the families pets, David was unable to stay.
Because both his grandmother and mother could not afford to house the teenager, and he ended up homeless and hopping from benches in public parks, which presented their own obvious obstacles.
He ended up in the safer neighborhood of Coventry because it was ‘a safer park with less dangers’.
Looking sharp: David proudly wears a Harvard hat while dressed in his formal school attire
‘All of these life lessons have shaped me into who I am, transforming my dreams and aspirations and allowing me to free myself from what was becoming an unproductive environment,’ he wrote in his blog post.
A short while later, Jeff McClellan, the principal of MC2 Stem and he was immediately impressed by David’s dedication in the face of adversity, as well as his academic prowess.
Mr McClellan and his wife took the teen in and helped him while he looked for a more permanent solution.
‘Here’s a kid who’s doing everything in his power to get where he wants to go and we had the available resources to provide a little additional support, Mr McClellan told the local ABC Newsaffiliate.
‘Wish I could that for everyone, but this was a unique case. Probably won’t be the last time, but we’re just really proud of David.’
Where he’s from: David sits on one of the park benches where he slept when he was homeless
Finish line: Now David will call Harvard University, one of the best colleges in the country, home
When it came to his next step, David aimed high and applied to a host of top-tier colleges, including the University of Pennsylvania, MIT, Princeton, Cornell, Yale, Harvard and Washington University in St. Louis.
In the end, only MIT rejected his application and he was left to choose his own fate from a the selective prestigious and mostly-Ivy League schools.
The true extent of his journey is not lost on David, whose next challenge is to fighting back tears at graduation this weekend.
‘I promised myself I wouldn’t cry. But I realize that that’s what everyone does before they cry,’ he toldFox 8.
‘I’m pretty sure there’s going to be a lot of emotion there.’
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