By Asia Johnson
When Taylor Hunter discovered she was pregnant as a high school junior, she almost gave up on education and quit school.
“I just knew my life was over. Some mornings I didn’t want to go to school or finish,” Hunter said.
But, somehow, the single mother remained tenacious. Perseverance through teen pregnancy and financial setbacks is what led Hunter to where she is today – a soon-to-be graduate of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU).
The senior social work student from Thomasville, Ga., says her daughter inspires her to keep moving forward and not give up on her quest to succeed.
“Whenever I feel like giving up, I look at her picture on my phone and remember why I am working hard,” Hunter said. “When you come from a strong, powerful, praying family like I do, negative thoughts vanish quickly!”
Hunter’s focus and commitment allowed her to successfully navigate through caring for a kindergarten-aged daughter and taking 18 credit hours in one semester to meet her four-year graduation goal.
She counts her family as the beacons of light that lit the, sometimes dim, road she had to travel to achieve her goals.
“My parents and grandmother offered lots of familial support,” Hunter said. “The overwhelming amount of support I received for me and my daughter allowed me to enjoy the full college experience, and I can proudly say I am graduating on time.”
Hunter included her daughter, Haylie, in her celebratory graduation photo shoot to showcase how proud she is to be a mother and to inspire others to persist toward their dreams no matter what they may face in life.
The magna cum laude student will join more than 1,200 graduates at the April 30, 2016 commencement ceremony held in the Alfred Lawson Multipurpose Center and Teaching Gymnasium, located at 1800 Wahnish Way in Tallahassee, Fla.
The 9 a.m. commencement ceremony will feature Obama appointee and U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. as the keynote speaker. At the 2 p.m. ceremony graduates will hear from Florida Cabinet member and Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam.