She gave childhood homelessness a face. Now she's graduating from college

She gave childhood homelessness a face. Now she's graduating from college
As a high school student, Victoria Cuba inspired many when she spoke frankly about the difficulty of being homeless. (Image: Hawaii News Now)

MANOA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Much about Victoria Cuba's life has changed for the better in the past four years.

"I feel a lot more confident," she said. "I remember being very shy when I did that interview the first time."

"That interview" was in 2014, when Victoria was a senior at Waipahu High School. She boldly told Hawaii News Now about her family's homeless situation and about the importance of having hope.

Back then, her bedroom was the back of a pickup truck.

"I wanted to show there's more to me than just being homeless," she said.

Victoria is now 21 and on the verge of graduating from the University of Hawaii at Manoa as an honor society student.

"I double-majored in journalism and creative media. They kind of go hand-in-hand. It's just two different ways of storytelling, which is something that I wanted to pursue," she said.

After Victoria's first story aired, total strangers touched by her honesty donated money toward her college education.

"I still remember a lot of them, the letters that they wrote. I keep them with me today. I actually hung them up in my dorm when I moved in as a reminder that I didn't get to where I was without them," she said.

Scholarships and financial aid got her to her goal of graduating in four years.

She now works in the university's College of Social Sciences and just returned from studying in London.

"It was the one thing I did while in college that was purely for myself," she said.

Her family situation also improved.

"We decided to try to get some help and find housing. We've been living in our apartment for about three years. I never felt we'd be able to make it out that quickly," she said.

From time to time, people recognize her from the old news story and tell her how she inspired them.

"It was nice to know that it made some kind of difference even though that's not what I intended it to be in the first place," she said.

Victoria still wants to achieve her high school dream of being a journalist so she can tell other people's stories.

Her story is as inspiring today as it was four years ago.

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