Rough road for Yates valedictorian

HOUSTON Kierra Lee will graduate from Yates High School Friday and it's been a long and trying road to get there. Raised by her ill grandmother who had little more than Social Security disability income, Kierra was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease when she was only 12 years old.

Despite missing many days of school as she battled her condition and many painful treatments, Kierra was not only able to keep up with her schoolwork, she excelled in it. In fact, her grades were so good that Kierra has been named valedictorian of her graduating class.

Kierra says a turning point in her life came when she had a volunteer opportunity that she says changed her life forever.

"I worked with the elderly in the Houston Housing Authority community. They gave me responsibility, and I saw that I could do it," Kierra said. "By giving me a chance, they gave me confidence. They taught me that although I might have a disability, I could get a real job and not stay in housing the rest of my life. The Houston Housing Authority shaped me."

Earning more than $80,000 in scholarships, Kierra will be the first in her family to go to college when she attends Texas A&M University. She's majoring in biomedical engineering and plans to also get a graduate degree in sociology.

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