WINNERS AND LOSERS: Formerly homeless Harvard students win big

WINNERS:

ZACK HODGES

One of Harvard’s top football defenders, Zack Hodges, is eyeing a spot in the NFL’s upcoming draft. His journey, which involved a period of homelessness in the Carolinas after his mother fled an abusive husband, is a true Ivy League success story. Hodges earned his crimson badge of courage and we’re thrilled about his NFL prospects.

TONIKA MORGAN

In another homeless-to-Harvard story, Canadian student Tonika Morgan earned her spot at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education next fall. She was accepted into the prestigious Ivy League but couldn’t afford the tuition. Morgan rallied for the much-needed funds on a crowdsourcing site and raised nearly $73,000 to cover expenses.

BHSC

The advocates from the Boston Homeless Solidarity Committee bravely orchestrated a powerful “March of the Homeless” protest starting at Woods-Mullen shelter and culminating at the State House on April 23. Hopefully, their cries for “housing, dignity and respect” for Boston’s homeless population will inspire reform.

MBTA

After a winter of discontent, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority offered free trips on trolleys, buses and commuter rail trains on Friday, April 24. Meanwhile, Gov. Charlie Baker unveiled legislation to overhaul the embattled MBTA. Too little, too late?

 

LOSERS:

DZHOKHAR TSARNAEV

In a photo seen around the world, Boston Marathon bomber Tsarnaev shot a defiant middle finger which was captured on surveillance camera in his cell at the federal courthouse on July 10, 2013. At his sentencing, prosecutors said the most hated man in Boston is “unrepentant and unchanged.”

TOM BRADY

Yes, the Super Bowl MVP can do no wrong. However, the New England Patriots quarterback blew off an engagement at the White House. Was Barack Obama snubbed? Not exactly. Brady hasn’t specified his political leanings, but he did attend three post-Super Bowl parties when President George W. Bush was in office.

HOLYOKE HOTEL

On May 1, homeless families will be evicted from the the Holyoke Hotel, which is being demolished and converted into restaurants, shops and upscale lodgings. It’s one of three spots in Holyoke that provides temporary shelter for the state’s growing homeless population. Meanwhile, social workers are busy trying to find these soon-to-be displaced families a home.

CHARLIE BAKER

He has a stellar record when it comes to homeless-related issues. However, the governor has not responded to critics, like the Boston Homeless Solidarity Committee, about the city’s lack of detox beds since the largest city-run shelter closed on Oct. 8.

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