7 graduation stories that will touch your heart

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Sunday, December 17, 2017
Very special kindergarten graduation held
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Graduating from Kindergarten for a special class is a big deal but it's also about reaching a huge milestone

By the time you graduate kindergarten, you'll already know the most important things you need to succeed: how to read, how to write, how to share and how to use your imagination.

But for students at The Center for Hearing and Speech in Houston, hearing impaired students also get a lesson in overcoming the odds.

"He's speaking, and moving on," one parent shared with Eyewitness News. "It's exciting. You can't express how exciting it is."

These adorable tots have graduated on to mainstream schools with the resources they need to live, dream and play like their peers.

Blind student a vision of success at TSU

After six brain surgeries, a blind Texas Southern University student is on the cusp of great things.

Daniel Vaughn graduated Friday from Thurgood Marshall School of Law, and was in the top 10 percent of his class.

She was beaten down by life, but never gave up

Bianca Jeannot, 22, shouldn't have made it this far.

After losing her mother at age 18, living in a homeless shelter for seven years, and working to take care of her two disabled brothers, Bianca's situation was bleak.

In fact, she didn't even believe should could attend college, but she made a way.

"I worked up to four jobs at a time, three on campus and one outside of campus. I worked for marketing, I worked for the admissions house on campus, I worked for payroll, the IT department," said Bianca.

All that hard work paid off. She's now getting her diploma.

Young mother and cancer survivor does what they said she couldn't do

Crisia Morales was determined not to become a statistic, but after giving birth to a child at 15 years old, she said "everyone I knew wrote me off."

She pushed through high school, graduated with her diploma, and found herself enrolled in classes at Lone Star College-CyFair.

But after Morales gave birth to a second child, doctors found a tumor on her salivary gland not just once but twice.

Despite the setbacks, Morales pushed on and earned her degree. She is now working as a bilingual first grade teacher in Spring Branch ISD.

"I am now a strong believer that God gives his toughest battles to his toughest soldiers," she said.

Her son's death is not in vain

Braydon Hester was proud. The 20-year-old from Biloxi, Mississippi was looking forward to graduating with both a high school equivalency diploma and a welding certificate after completing a program at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.

Sadly, Hester died in February at the Biloxi Mardi Gras Parade, but his spirit was not absent from this year's graduation ceremony.

Lisa Husley, his mother, donned Braydon's cap and gown, and accepted the diploma on her son's behalf.

"It's very hard for me," Husley said afterward. "This is a very emotional day, but it meant so much to my son."

Now Husley is following in her son's footsteps. She is enrolled at the school, and wants to pursue a human services certificate.

Graduation is a joyful noise for this student

For 7 years, Trent Riley could barely hear his mom's voice.

The Auburn, Washington teen could hardly hear his teachers.

After losing three different pairs of hearing aids as a young child, his family told him they couldn't afford to replace the devices.

"Unfortunately, most insurance does not cover hearing aids," his mother Cheryl Hammond said.

Now after a gift from the Miracle Ear Foundation, Trent is hearing clearly, easing his frustrations and helping him feel prepared for what is ahead beyond graduation.

Trent will enroll in culinary school in the fall.

Forward, for better or worse

While graduations can be fun and memorable, they can also be bittersweet.

For many students, it's a chance to say goodbye to good friends and great teachers.

For Ferris El-Tayyeb, it was a moment to reflect on his childhood and just how short life really is.

His father Akram El-Tayyeb didn't expect to see his son graduate, but the cancer patient said God blessed him with just enough time.

Through a special arrangement, Ferris received his diploma early at a private ceremony attended by family, friends and most importantly, his father.

"Just watching him and having him graduate, it's beyond what I expected," Akram El-Tayyeb said.

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