Brooklyn homeless teen with cerebral palsy beats the odds to go to college

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Friday, November 14, 2014
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A.J. Ross has the inspiring story of a teen who overcame homelessness and cerebral palsy.

WILLIAMSBURG -- A 17-year old from Brooklyn is truly beating the odds.

She's on track to go to college and medical school, despite living in a homeless shelter and suffering from cerebral palsy.

Johileny Alamonte is at the top of her class at Juan Morel Campos Secondary School in Brooklyn and yet not many know the great odds this teenager has already had to overcome.

"When I was first starting school they denied me access to regular education," Johileny said.

Born with cerebral palsy, she says her mom had to fight early on just for her to get an equal education.

"She fought for me to like actually go to school where I deserved to go according to her standards," said Johileny.

High education standards her mother maintained over the years even in the face of overwhelming challenges as their family lived in and out of homeless shelters.

Then just four years ago, Johileny's mother lost her battle with cancer.

"She was like the reason I would get up every morning to come to school. She has been like my main motivation to like do all of this," she said.

Now boasting a 94.7 GPA, Johileny credits her mother for her classroom success and is looking forward to going to college to become a doctor.

"I would hope she's proud of me, that motivated me even more it was like if she fought for me then I have to fight for now," she said.

Her story is one that has touched this entire school and continues to inspire.

And while there will likely be challenges ahead Johileny has her mother's fighting spirit, and believes she's already learned one of life's biggest lessons.

"Don't look backwards, always look forward, always look for tomorrow not for yesterday," she said.