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Homeless valedictorian moves from shelter to Georgetown dorm

By Contessa Gayles | 7/16/2014, 10:59 a.m.
WASHINGTON (CNNMoney) -- Last month, Rashema Melson lived in a single room with her mother and two of her six ...
Last month, Rashema Melson lived in a single room with her mother and two of her six siblings at a Washington, D.C., homeless shelter. Now, she lives in a dorm room at Georgetown University. (Contessa Gayles/CNNMoney)

Melson's family may soon be on the move again.

Following the disappearance of an 8-year-old girl from D.C. General, and amid allegations of staff misconduct and abuse and hazardous living conditions, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray announced that his administration is pursuing plans to close the shelter.

A single mom without a job, Melson's mother Vanessa Brown knows her daughter will continue to worry about her family's situation from school.

"I just have to let her know that no matter what, we're still going to survive and we don't let this bring us down," Brown said.

After college, Melson plans to go to medical school and become a forensic pathologist -- a career path inspired by her father, who was murdered when she was just a baby. And she's committing to helping other young people overcome hardship to achieve their goals as well, launching the Rashema Melson Scholarship Foundation.

"There are a lot of kids that I see in the shelter and I want them to know this isn't how your life has to be just because of your family," Melson said. "You can always overcome this."

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