Getting in to Harvard University or other Ivy League Universities is certainly a dream come true for most, and requires extreme dedication and resilience. 
Credit: Wikimedia Commons
That’s why student Derrick Ngo was astounded when he found out he was accepted to attend Harvard University.

“I would never have imagined in a million years that I would be going to Harvard”, said Derrick. 
Credit: Twitter/ @emergevillage

Derrick, a senior at Houston Independent School District’s (HISD), Energy Institute High School, is a valedictorian and the top of his class, but he has had an extremely tough life.

Nothing has come easy for Derrick. Most of his life, he grew up without his parents by his side.  At times, he has had to live without knowing how he would get his next meal, and had to live by himself at the age of 15.

“My mother was heavily involved in gambling and she got involved with criminal activities. She’s been incarcerated maybe eight or more times.

“For me and my siblings, there was a lot of instability. I attended 12 different middle schools and elementary schools, total.

“They made it difficult for me to even worry about going to school if I don’t know where I am going to live,” Derrick said.

Despite everything, Derrick has been working very hard planning his future and has always strived to become successful.

The journey for Derrick to the prestigious Ivy League university has always been a roller coaster and he almost lost all hope until he joined EMERGE.

EMERGE is a non-profit organization that helps low income, under-represented and high achieving students get into selective universities.

Derrick is super thankful for the organization and says he owes a great deal to his EMERGE mentor, Judy Le.
Credit: YouTube/ ABC13Houston

“She is probably one of the most amazing people I’ve met”, said Derrick

Judy cares for Derrick and treats him like her own child.

“[Judy] typically cooks for me, it’s like so much love and affection that I wish I had growing up,” said Derrick.

When Judy found out Derrick was accepted, she couldn’t contain her emotions.

“[Derrick] comes over for dinner all the time. He’s just part of the family. When I found out he got into Harvard, I started crying,” Judy said.

“If I didn’t have EMERGE, I’d probably wouldn’t be attending a school like Harvard.”

“EMERGE has helped me find a home that’s actually stable and I am currently living with one of the board members from EMERGE,” Derrick added.

And now Derrick is sharing his words of wisdom to others who also dream to make it one day! 

“Growing up I didn’t really believe that I had the potential, but as long as you have the motivation and discipline, anything is possible.”

Congratulations Derrick, we wish you all the best!

Credit: ABC 13

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