Formerly homeless NJ teen accepted to 17 colleges

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JERSEY CITY, NJ — Homeless students have rougher times in school than many others, but one New Jersey teen whose family struggled through homelessness beat the odds.

Dylan Chidick, 17, has been accepted to 17 colleges. Chidick, who’s class president at Henry Snyder High School, was inducted into the National Honor Society when his family lived at a homeless shelter. Now he’s got his choice of schools, including Xavier University, New Jersey City University and Rowan University.

“The situation that my family has been through, I don’t want it to define me,” Chidick said.

Chidick lived in Brooklyn with his mom and younger twin brothers until a few years ago. The skyrocketing cost of living triggered an emergency move to Jersey City.

“It was because of the rent,” Chidick said. “It got too high in New York.”

His brothers both needed heart surgery. Mom Khadine Phillip lost her job.

“Everything went downhill from there,” she said.

Phillip credits non-profit Women Rising with providing a safety net for her family and for her son’s future.

“Once you have that housing stability in place, then families are able to work on their goals to improve their wellbeing,” Anne Miller-Christensen, a member of the Women Rising management team, said.

Chidick is not resting on his laurels. Now that he has his pile of acceptance letters, he’s already thinking about his next step: law school.

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