By: WCTV Eyewitness News
June 14, 2017
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- WCTV and Werner Hyundai are teaming up to highlight local foster children and foster parents.
This is the story of local graduates of the GED program.
Decorations fill the room at the Leon Human Services Center. Graduation is finally here for the class of 2017.
It’s not your typical ceremony though, or your typical graduates. These GED recipients are all former foster children.
Kaedi and Mayzi are both graduates.
"I’ve been in foster care since I was 6 maybe 5," says Kaedi.
"I tried a couple different of programs and eventually ended up in foster care," says Mayzi.
They say getting to this day, was not always easy.
"It was good until the teenage years,” says Mayzi. “I started rebelling. I didn't want to listen; typical teenage stuff. I refused to do school work."
"I got adopted when I was 16 and it didn't work out,” says Kaedi. “When I turned 18 I got pregnant and had my daughter at 19."
Tonight’s keynote speaker, Patricia McCray, is all too familiar with life’s challenges. Patricia became an orphan at eleven years old. She endured years of domestic abuse and later in life, served time in federal prison.
"We admire the beauty of the butterfly but we rarely admit the changes that it goes through," says Patricia.
For Patricia, the butterfly is a symbol of hope, leading her to start her own company called Butterfly Life Journey’s Inc.
"Life will bring many challenges and many ups and downs no matter where they go or what they face,” recalls Patricia. “But it is up to them. There's a quote by Maya Angelo that says 'let no one or nothing dim the light within.’"
She hopes these young minds will use their story to achieve success in life.
And Mayzi, has a message for other foster children ready to give up on school.
"Don't give up. I know there were a lot of times that I was like 'I don't want to do this anymore. I’m done with this. school's not that important to me,'” recalls Mayzi. “Then I kind of picked myself up and said you know if you don't do this, you're not going to be able to do anything with your life. I got over that whole mindset of 'you can't do anything. You’ll never be anything.' I picked myself up and realized I can do
"Don’t do it for anyone. Do it for yourself," says Kaedi.