High Schooler Overcomes Homelessness, Hearing Loss & ADHD — Now She’s Valedictorian with an 8.07 GPA
“I think going through all of this … has led me to want to persevere and want to show little girls or boys my age that they can do it too.”
When you’re faced with challenges in life, you have two choices — you can either let the challenge defeat you, or, you can conquer it.
Jasmine Mazard-Larry is a conquerer.
The 17-year-old is graduating high school at the top of her class with a seriously impressive 8.07 GPA.
And while she may be the textbook definition of stratospheric high school success, it took an inspiring amount of perseverance and strength to get here.
How a High Schooler is A Master Class in Overcoming Obstacles
Throughout her life, Jasmine has struggled with ADHD and hearing loss. Both of which provided unique academic challenges and caused her embarrassment growing up.
“I was a little embarrassed,” she told GMA about her ADHD and hearing loss. “I didn’t really talk about it that much to a lot of people.”
If that wasn’t enough to deal with, four years ago her family lost everything in a devastating house fire that almost killed her father and her then 9-month pregnant mother.
For the first two years of high school, Jasmine was homeless.
She had every excuse in the book to just give up and let her circumstances define her. Instead, she used her challenges to fuel her and fan the flames of her ambition.
“She dealt with a really difficult situation, and … she didn’t allow it to stop her from meeting her goals. I think that’s really remarkable, and she was just very goal-driven from day one,” her principal, Marlee Strawn, told GMA.
Throughout her high school years at Dr. Kiran C. Patel High School in Tampa, FL., Jasmine has taken a rigorous course load. She’s enrolled in Advanced Placement (AP) courses, dual credit courses, and the Cambridge Advanced International Certificate of Education (all of which contribute to her insanely high GPA.)
On top of her academic achievements, she’s also heavily involved in several extracurricular activities, including the student government association, student council, speech and debate team, and art club.
And now, all of her hard work, resilience, and extreme tenacity are paying off.
From Homelessness to Class Valedictorian
When Jasmine walks across the stage at graduation, not only will she be receiving her high school diploma, but she’ll be receiving an associate’s degree from a local community college as well.
And she’ll be front and center giving the valedictory speech.
So what is it that drives her?
“I use my little brother as my motivation,” she said. “Sometimes it can be challenging, but I look at him and I want to be a role model for him.”
Jasmine also believes in the power of a positive mindset. Rather than looking at obstacles as setbacks, she views them as stepping stones to who she is meant to be.
As for what’s next? She plans on attending college and pursuing a career as a doctor. We have no doubt she’ll excel at whatever she puts her mind to.
Despite all the obstacles she’s faced in and out of school, Jasmine has never lost sight of her goals. And when things were at their darkest, it was her light that guided her through.
Her tenacity, spirit, and ability to persevere against the odds is truly inspiring and speaks to the power that can be found in never giving up, no matter what life throws your way.
Because it’s through it all, the good AND the bad, that we are forged into the people we are destined to be.
“We all have our own story. There’s the good and the bad. But don’t overlook the bad because it makes you who you are. In 20 [or] 10 years from now, you’re going to look back and be like, ‘I did that. I conquered all of these obstacles, and here I am today.’”