MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Saturday there were lots of graduations across the River Region.
Reaching this milestone was a big achievement for one Evangel Christian Academy student who has faced some big health challenges starting at birth.
When you ask Makaria Hamilton about heading to college her answer is like most high school graduates.
“I am very excited,” she said.
From violin to volleyball all while maintaining a 3.5 GPA, the Evangel Christian Academy senior set the bar high for herself.
“I always like pushed myself,” Hamilton said.
Making it to this point is monumental for the 18-year-old, because of the odds stacked against her. When she entered the world at just 25 weeks, she weighed 1 pound and 10 ounces.
“We were initially told that even if she survived that she probably wouldn’t walk or talk or see or hear or any of that,” said Bessie Hamilton, Makaria’s mother.
Bessie Hamilton says the first six months of Makaria’s life were spent in the hospital.
Later, she was diagnosed with hydrocephalus and over the years she endured countless surgeries.
“She has a VP shunt now that she will have to have for the rest of her life," Makaria’s mother said. "It goes from the back of her head down to her chest.”
Despite all of the challenges and obstacles, for these parents, watching their daughter beat the odds has been a blessing.
“She is not only surviving but thriving. Very proud of her being very persistent and pushing through.” said Elvyn Hamilton, Makaria’s father.
“As a mother you pray it is going to turn out to be a great situation, but you know and to see this is the life she has been given. Oh my goodness,” said Makaria’s mother.
And looking back at pictures of herself, Makaria is truly grateful.
“It is so encouraging to know I came from so small and now I am about to graduate,” Makaria said.
Makaria has already secured a number of scholarships. She is planning to attend college in Oklahoma. She wants to pursue a career in child development.