High school seniors overcome hardships to achieve their goals

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THE BRONX -

Getting into college is a big accomplishment for all high school students, but a few students in the Bronx stand out for what they have achieved in the face of adversity.

Kevin Batista was accepted to top universities like Dartmouth and Duke, and says he had to overcome major obstacles in order to get there.

"I hear gunshots daily, basically," Batista says. "Just things I have to deal with and I just don't want to deal with that anymore."

Vanessa Rodriguez will move into her freshman dorm at Emory University this fall, a far cry from her days growing up inside of numerous shelters.

"You have to believe in yourself," Rodriguez says. "You have to find something that you can hold onto that will keep you going."

Bronx High School for Law and Community Service Principal Michael Barakat says his students are proof anything is possible.

"Our students here in the Bronx are changing minds all over the country of people who have negative stereotypes about our students," he says. "Or who have preconceived notions about their ability because clearly they're competing at a national and international level." 

These high school seniors, along with their classmates, will receive their high school diplomas on June 22.

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