BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - It’s nothing but smiles and hugs for Kayvion Booker after receiving his high school diploma from Maranathan Academy. What makes it so special is all he had to overcome to get it.
After being shot multiple times, Kayvion's family didn't know if he would live to see another day or finish high school. Kayvion's godmother, Alisa Duncan, says it was a long road, but she knew he could pull off a miracle.
“It lets you know that God is good and he is making his mark today,” said Duncan.
He's not the only one. This Saturday, the Maranathan Academy graduation ceremony was full of success stories. Donna Dukes say their primary goal is to break the cycle of government dependency that has plagued the families of critically at-risk youth for generations.
This includes 28-year-old Tia Julius. According to Dukes, Tia wasn't able to finish high school as a teenager because her mother threatened to beat her to death if she continued her education. After enduring domestic violence and being homeless, Tia is graduating as a 2020 Perseverance Award winner.
"I was so scared, I called my teacher and said I couldn't do it, I can't do it," said Julius. "She said, don't stop, so I didn't."
Dukes says stories like these are familiar at the academy; that's why it's essential to continue with their mission.
“Come by Maranathan Academy and see the way love and discipline and believing in someone and the importance of education will literally change the trajectory, not only of their life but everyone around them,” said Dukes.