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GREENSBORO, NC -- The Guilford County School system has 2,473 students this year who identify as homeless.

There are countless others who walk the halls of the district's schools but are too ashamed to admit it.

For the homeless students, every school day includes additional challenges: where to study... where to eat... where to wash up... where to sleep.

Wednesday, WFMY News 2's Faith Abubey met a homeless high school senior who will graduate from Ben L. Smith High School with honors, this weekend.

She will be the first in her family to get a diploma.

"I'm ready for college. I'm so ready," said Miranda Hurt.

The 17-year-old has kept her cap and gown in a plastic bag, folded on the dash board of the family truck since she got it a few weeks ago.

Fall can't come soon enough.

"With college, I'll have a place to stay every night, getting a meal plan, so it's like a set of security that I didn't have while I was here," she said.

For almost four months now, Miranda and her family have been living in their vehicle.

The motor of the SUV blew out a few weeks ago. But even though the truck is inoperable, it has served as a kitchen table, a study, a bedroom and many other things for Hurt, her mother, her brother and the family dog, Zeus.

"Basically this parking lot has been like a home for the last three months because I do my homework there, I shower there," Miranda said pointing to the Walmart parking lot not far from her school.

The family was evicted when, mom, Minnie Richardson's paychecks no longer covered the bills.

Her son can't find work, and Miranda's part-time job wasn't enough…and still isn't.

"It's hard to look at your kids and know that you can't take care of them and you do what you can but at the end of the day I still go to bed feeling like I've failed them," Richardson said through tears.

Richardson has kept her family together through these difficult months.

Her full-time job is now part-time because, she says, her boss continues to cut her hours.

Whatever money isn't used on food and other necessities, she uses to take the bus to and from work.

"I hate that she feels that she's a bad mom because she can't give us a new iPhone or [we can't] go to parties and stuff like that but that's not really what I care about," Miranda said, also crying.

What Miranda cares about, she says, is how far her education will take her...
How far away from cold dinners in a broken down truck…
How far away from cold showers in a Walmart bathroom before school…

And staying late to study in her school social worker's office just so her classmates won't know she has no home to go to, no home to call her own.

"She's a great girl, a good young lady, she persevered," said Terri Sims-Warren, Miranda's social worker at the school.

Miranda has been accepted to East Carolina University.
Richardson says she can't wait to see her daughter walk across the stage and get her diploma.

The family doesn't know where Miranda will find a shower to wash her hair or an iron to press her gown --- but she'll be there, at the graduation, to celebrate her achievements.

"I'm so proud. Every day," Richardson said about her daughter.

"I care about going to college…so that this won't happen to my children," Miranda added, in tears.

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