Camden grads honored for overcoming adversities

CAMDEN, N.J. (WPVI) -- Several students in Camden are being honored for overcoming extraordinary adversities - earning their high school diplomas and heading to college.

"I was young when I had a daughter," said Taylor Patterson.

Taylor was only 14 years old when she had Brielle.

Four years later, Taylor is graduating Camden High School.

She's one of 20 students from five Camden schools - being honored for overcoming adversity to earn their diplomas.

"Me and my family faced some really hard struggles. Through all of that I could only think I had to find a way to get my family out of here," said Taylor.

Taylor turned to singing and was featured in a video for an organization dedicated to preventing high school drop-outs.

By the time she entered high school, she had a baby and had been put out of two houses with her family.

Now Taylor plans to attend Rowan College at Gloucester County and has aspirations in music production.

19-year-old Jazzmine Wilson's path was different. She was in foster care since she was 3.

Last year her aunt left Jazzmine and her sister alone in their apartment and didn't come back. They got jobs to pay the rent.

"Even though we have rough times, going through the ups and downs builds me to be what I am today," said Jazzmine.

She'll be attending Camden County College this fall.

As a child, 18-year-old Mahogany Robinson moved through foster care placements and had her first daughter at 15. She's due again this summer.

Mahogany will graduate 10th in her class and plans to one day be a homicide detective.

Her family will be there at the award ceremony.

"My grandmom cried when I told her I was going to be honored. I'm going to be her first granddaughter to graduate, to go to college," she said.

It wasn't always an easy path but here they are earning their high school diploma. The students say they want to send the message to others facing challenges - that it is possible.

"It may not be the life you chose but it's the life you gotta live so live it," said Jazzmine.
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