By Paul Kurtz
 
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A high school senior who overcame an overwhelmingly rough home life has been honored by the Philadelphia Education Fund.

For most of her young life, Justina McMinn was so gripped by instability and uncertainty that school was merely an option.

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“When I did go to school, I was able to pick up the stuff fast,” she says. “I knew that I was smart and I could do it, but it was from the instability and not going to school. And I lived with my mom and she didn’t make me go to school. It was like, if you want to go you can go, but you don’t have to.”

A mentally ill mother and a father she doesn’t even want to talk about and unstable housing — including shelters, are some of the obstacles she overcame. By the end of middle school, the 14-year-old was a straight F student.

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But with the help of her uncle, Justina turned her life around when she arrived at Roxborough High. She’s now a straight A student with dreams of going to college.

“I’ve already applied to Penn State,” she says. “I’m reaching for UPenn. Hopefully I can get into there and there’s a couple other schools on my list.”

For her efforts, Justina has been named the recipient of the Education Funds Rising Star EDDY Award.

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