Graduating from high school or college is one of the most impressive and rewarding achievement celebrated in one’s life.
On Thursday, a group of young adults who at one time had the odds stacked up against them, celebrated reaching that goal.
ChildNet Palm Beach County hosted the Foster Youth Graduation Achievement Celebration and recognized 46 individuals who received their GED, vocational certification or college diploma.
“They have all the challenges that all our youth does. But then on top of that, at some point in their lives, they were removed from their parents because of no fault of their own but abuse, abandonment or neglect. So, they've had to go without the parental support a lot of us have had,” said Larry Rein, CEO of ChildNet.
For the young adults who were recognized, the ceremony celebrated much more than finishing school. It was about celebrating such an accomplishment that once seemed so out of reach.
"It means the world to me. It means that I can make it that far and all the things that happened to me don't define who I am today,” said Samantha Kaufman, one of the graduates.
Kaufman achieved her Associate of the Arts from Palm Beach State College and will be advancing on to the police academy.
“It brings tears to my eyes and happiness to my heart to know that I could make it that far. I didn't think that I could as a kid, but to know that I am here today means a lot,” said Kaufman.
The 46 graduates received a plaque, gift card and laptop to help them with their future studies.