In a story by Edward Sargent in this newspaper yesterday we were told about the triumph of Carol and Carl Roberson, twins from Ballou High School in Southeast Washington. In this, their senior year, their mother had a nervous breakdown and left town to recuperate. For reasons of his own, their father also left. The twins were without a home or resources. Carl spent nights with neither food nor sleep riding in the back of buses because he had no place else to go. His sister was treated for depression.

Last night Carol and Carl Roberson graduated from Ballou. They will go to college with scholarships this fall. They are the true tough kids, and we salute them. We salute as well the renascent D.C. school system, which was their rock and brought them through. Their success is their own. But it came not only through their own determination, but also because school counselor Nellie Grant, school psychologist Marilyn Green and social worker Wilma Prince refused to let them fail. These adult strangers found them places to live, gave them pep talks, gave in school some of the support most children have at home.

Graduation is a time for pride, for honoring accomplishment. Too often there is not the recognition that some students must do more than merely master subject matter.

A lot of kids in circumstances like those of the Robersons don't make it. They drop out. And there are many in the school sytem -- teachers, counselors, social workers -- who must wonder each year if the effort to beat the odds is worthwhile. Carol and Carl Roberson provide the answer: it is.