After overcoming tragedy, N. Phila woman graduates college Cum Laude

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A North Philadelphia woman who has overcome incredible tragedy, earned her degree, graduating from Cabrini College on Sunday. (WPVI)

Sunday was an exciting day, not only for the 330 students receiving their undergraduate degrees from Cabrini College, but also for their families.

In fact, Philadelphia's First Lady, Lisa Nutter, asked the graduates to thank their parents and others who'd help them reach this great accomplishment.

"So please take this moment to show how much you appreciate them and the role they have played to getting you to this point," she said during the commencement.

Among the graduates, though, a young woman whose parents could not share this day.

Olivia Collins of North Philadelphia lost both her mom and her dad before her 19th birthday. Since then, she's worked not only on her studies, but also at paying off the mortgage on her family's home.

"The most difficult part of college was multi-tasking, having to balance work and student life. That was really difficult for me but I got through it and I learned how to multi-task better," said Collins.

Collins received her Bachelor of Social Work Degree, Cum Laude. Her career choice is influenced by her late father's illness.

"Because of my father, when he got sick. Him having a social worker, it pushed me to be a social worker because I like to help people," she said.

Collins plans to attend graduate school at Temple University, taking to heart Mrs. Nutter's challenge to the class of 2014.

"Never forget that you are not okay with the way the world is. You are not okay with this world, you want it better," said Mrs. Nutter during the commencement.

"I want to better myself and better my community as well," said Collins.
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