Local News

Fayetteville woman overcame odds to graduate top of class

Posted December 12, 2010 9:40 p.m. EST
Updated December 13, 2010 7:21 a.m. EST

— 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.