To Infinity And Beyond: Next Stop, Virginia State University

By Aliyah Rawles

Infinity Hedrington, on left, shows her award as an honoree of the 2016 Youth Who Uplift. File photo on right of Hedrington while she and her family lived at Harmony House in June 2014.
Infinity Hedrington, on left, shows her award as an honoree of the 2016 Youth Who Uplift. File photo on right of Hedrington while she and her family lived at Harmony House in June 2014.

Still hitting life’s curves but managing to stay on track, former Harmony House resident and college-bound track runner Infinity Hedrington continues to stride towards her dreams.

During the month of June, Hedrington had a lot on her plate. She applied to colleges, prepared for prom and graduation, and her family moved out of Harmony House, New Community’s transitional housing facility for homeless families.

Hedrington has certainly made big strides. Now an incoming college freshman at Virginia State University, Hedrington plans to study sports medicine and become a kinesiologist. With track still being a part of her future dreams, Hedrington served as captain of Newark’s West Side High track team for a third year during the 2015-2016 school year. The team made it to Nationals but their victory was cut short due to graduation being the next day for most of the team, which consisted of mainly seniors.

Harmony House offers 102 units of transitional housing for the homelessness. Whether  individuals have lost their jobs, or have been victims of any type of abuse, Harmony House aims to help families reach self-sufficiency. The average stay ranges from six to nine months.

Hedrington has overcome many challenges. While living at Harmony House, she said she would duck from buses, in attempts to hide from possible classmates seeing her come from inside the facility. But regardless of adjusting to a new living situation after becoming homeless, Hedrington has maintained nothing lower than A’s and B’s her entire high school career. She also graduated high school on the super honor roll with a 3.9 GPA.

Recently, Hedrington visited VSU, met the track coach, and her future Virginia teammates. She will be a great addition to the team after having gone to Penn Relays twice, and heading a nationally qualifying team. While there, she was given the opportunity to be critiqued by the track team on her speed. The team gave her some pointers and told her how she’ll have to practice three times a day, including between classes. She plans to begin waking up early in the morning to train her body for the heavy workout schedule she’ll have in the coming school year saying, “I know what I need to do now.”

Breaking the 55m and 100m dash records for her high school, Hedrington hopes to continue crushing records, but now on the college level. She lives for the “rush that you get” from coming off the curve. She moved to campus on August 5.

Hedrington has received honors such as the 2016 Youth Who Uplift Award and a letter from Senator Ronald L. Rice, all of which she described as “overwhelming”—the honors, being the captain of the track team and handling her personal issues. Her parents, Michelle and Rudolph Jr., said that the reason why their daughter has been able to achieve so much despite the odds is due to the fact that, “God got her.” They continually expressed their support for their daughter. Her family moved out of Harmony House to give Hedrington the opportunity to have friends over and to look for a place of their own close to Virginia.

Even with all this success, she still needs help paying for her tuition at Virginia State University. Along with aid and grants, the majority of her tuition is covered, but she needs to come up with the other portion soon. Hedrington’s family has created a Go Fund Me account to look for additional help in financing her education. They are still applying for scholarships to help lessen the burden.

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