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Rockdale News Community Spirit Award: Overcoming adversity through Open Campus

Angela Brown knew the odds were stacked against her. As a teenage mom who left school in her freshman year after she became pregnant with her son, she was determined not to become another statistic.

And through hard work and sheer will, Brown has pulled off the extraordinary. After enrolling at the Rockdale County Open Campus, she managed to finish four years worth of credits in just two years, allowing her to graduate on time with her class year. Brown will be one of the seniors proudly walking across the stage at the Salem High School graduation on Saturday.

"I stayed in school constantly," she said, explaining how she had covered so much ground. "I knew I did not want to be a drop-out. I have a child. I wanted something better for him. I have to make a better life and more money, so I need higher education."

For her hard work and perseverance, Brown was selected as the student winner of the Rockdale News Community Spirit award at the Open Campus.

Principal Mike Mauriello praised Brown's performance and attitude. "She has done a super job at the Open Campus. For two years, she's been as good as gold. We think highly of her."

"It's just her maturity and how she's just a good role model for the other students. She's had a lot of adversity but always had a great attitude and always persevered."

When she enrolled at Open Campus, she had only three credits that had transferred with her, Mauriello pointed out.

"I am so proud of her," said her aunt Vanessa Wright. "I can't be no prouder."

Brown plans to attend Gordon College to study criminal justice, and hopes to transfer to Clark Atlanta University.