Celebrating PCPS Graduates Who Overcame Homelessness

Celebrating PCPS Graduates Who Overcame Homelessness

Group photo of students at Hearth Project luncheon

All students face challenges on their path to graduation, but every year we take time to celebrate a special group of seniors who have endured and overcome homelessness.

Last month PCPS’ Hearth Project held a luncheon for about 60 students from the Class of 2023. Each has grown up experiencing some degree of homelessness, and Hearth provides assistance to those students and their families.

Within PCPS alone, there are an estimated 4,400 students experiencing homelessness.

The annual luncheon for graduates recognizes their hard work and perseverance. Many of the students will be moving on to college, so they are provided with necessities to help them get settled in their life after high school. The students also receive gift cards and a tablet computer.

Hearth Project staff take immense pride in each year’s graduates, said Ben Ruch, a coordinator for the program.

“The reason we do what we do is to get them to graduation. We truly see that education is the best chance these students have to end the cycle of poverty and homelessness,” he said. “With all that they have going on in their lives, for them to get to that finish line and graduate, that is truly worth celebrating.”

PCPS would like to extend a special thanks to our Hearth Project staff, as well as Vickie Griffis and the Sunshine Committee for organizing this annual event. Also, thank you to Mike’s Grill for providing the meal, and Dr. Julio C. Caba for being the guest speaker.

Most importantly, congratulations to our graduates. You have already accomplished so much, and we are proud of you.

For more information, please visit polkschoolsfl.com/hearth.