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Fayetteville woman overcame odds to graduate top of class

Posted December 12, 2010
Updated December 13, 2010

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— Medical problems forced Katrina Faison to miss two years of school.

She overcame those incredible odds to graduate, at the age of 21, from Fayetteville State University Saturday at the top of her class and served as valedictorian at this weekend's winter commencement.

"It was really a blessing to be able to get through high school and graduate, and now to graduate from college a semester early – after missing out on two years of school – with a 4.0 GPA," Faison said. "It's like I never thought that would happen."

When she was 12 years old, Faison suffered from severe seizures. Her condition led to more than a dozen brain surgeries, including the removal of part of her skull. Faison even suffered a stroke.

She said high school was difficult because her disability made her a target for bullying.

She found a home at Fayetteville State, however, where she said her classmates saw her personality before her disability.

Faison plans to attend graduate school to study criminology and criminal justice.


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  • kfaison5 Dec 14, 2010

    Hello everyone,
    this is Katrina Faison and I just want to thank you all for your comments on my story. It really means a lot to me to know that my story is inspiring others and God's purpose for me is being fulfilled. Once again thank you all and God bless!

  • wildcat Dec 13, 2010

    May God continue to bless her always.

  • NC Reader Dec 13, 2010

    bluetarheel -- I agree with esprg. The only way the media will find out is if someone tells them. You can be the one.

  • esprg Dec 13, 2010

    @Bluetarheel write in to WRAL & tell them or even the local paper! Congrats to your sister :)

  • Pseudonym Dec 13, 2010

    I have a proposed New Year's resolution for WRAL for 2011: We need at least one story a day like this. We can deal with a little less who shot who, who raped who, who got killed, which cop was fired, and whose house burned down. Start focusing on the heroes in our society like Ms. Faison instead of the dregs. Start giving attention to the achievers instead of the thieves.

  • issymayake Dec 13, 2010

    Congratulations; my brother suffered from non-epileptic seizures; so I know just how difficult this can be to deal with throughout your childhood. Your story should be inspiring to everyone.

  • AF Flight Nurse Dec 13, 2010

    To Bluetarheel21, Congratulations, big congratulations to your sister for her effort and accomplishments. I KNOW you are happy for her as are we! These are STRONG lessons and values we teach and live for our children!

  • christinecotton Dec 13, 2010

    ...would be nice to know what the "bullies" have to say now

  • artist Dec 13, 2010

    Now that's what I'm talking about!!

  • Conservative Dec 13, 2010

    Ms. Faison - Congratulations on your accomplishment! I hope the fraction of the current youth that is suffering from a mental ailment called "entitlement mentality" learns a lesson from you on how to conquer adversity and succeed!