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An annual event at Emerson College in Hollywood awarded prom dresses to more than 80 LAUSD girls who are maintaining their grades despite experiencing difficult circumstances including homelessness, according to the school district.

“Prom Day makes selecting a dress and accessories for prom possible, and is a special day for these young women, who are encouraged by the gift of improved self-esteem to graduate with confidence,” a news release from the Los Angeles Unified School District stated.

Among those receiving a dress, shoes and accessories was Maricruz Padilla, who was moved to tears when discussing her gratitude of attending the event.

“Well, this helps me with my money situation, and it helps my mom, too, so I’m glad I’m here,” she said, wiping away tears.

Because of financial burdens in a single-parent home, Maricruz has to live away from her mother. While the situation is far from easy, the graduating senior refuses to give up her college aspirations.

Maricruz said she hopes one day to become a coroner for the FBI.

“Always try your hardest, life’s not going to be easy,” she said. “You just have to keep up your grades and make sure you never give up on your education.”

Another senior, Deserie Villa doesn’t have a permanent home nor does she have a relationship with her mother and father. She was recently accepted into three colleges.

“I have little sisters, so I just want to be a role model for them and stuff, so they can see that I do it, and they can do it. Like, they don’t need nobody to help them out,” she said. “They can do it on their own.”

The event was put on by the Assistance League of Los Angeles.