NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — As the college graduation season starts, the story of one Bronx teen stands tall above the rest.
WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond has the story of Jeffrey Mejia, who went from being homeless to earning a college degree.
As a child, Mejia moved from a comfortable life in the Dominican Republic to a one bedroom apartment in the Bronx.
“From that moment on I thought hey, you’ve got to want better for yourself,” he tells WCBS 880. “You can’t settle for something like this.”
Mejia says the shame of having to live in a homeless shelter made him a shy kid.
“I thought it was more severe than it was,” he said. “When I was going through it I just didn’t know how to handle it.”
Through it all, Mejia stayed in high school and became a scholar athlete at Berkeley College’s midtown campus, helping lead its basketball team to three national championships in a row with the help of Coach Chris Christiansen.
“All of them face adversity all their lives and they’ve been doing this,” Christiansen told CBS2’s Steve Overmyer in March. “They don’t have fathers in their lives, mothers are working with three or four children. Some of them have kids of their own.”
“There’s a family and the brotherhood is amazing and it’s something that really helped me get through college,” he said. “And I’m grateful that I went through it.”
Doing his best despite adversity seems like it’s already paid off — Mejia had a full-time job lined up even before he donned his cap and gown Friday, graduating with a 3.4 grade point average.