Senior Graduates WHS Against All Odds

Wellington High School senior Tawana Michel crossed the stage with her classmates during the graduation ceremony Thursday, May 21 at the South Florida Fairgrounds. Her diploma is proof that she mastered and completed the graduation requirements, but it is also proof that she was victorious over a number of life factors that could have prevented her successful graduation.

This remarkable young lady has a 3.5 GPA and earned a senior award for outstanding success in her French language courses and her participation in the school’s French Honor Society.

When Michel entered high school as an English Language Learner (ELL) student, she was the second oldest of four girls whose father had been estranged from her mother for years. She was the daughter who helped her mother with her two younger sisters and took charge of the cooking and housework while her mother worked as many hours as she could. Despite the added responsibilities, she earned mostly As and Bs in school.

Then came the need for a lumpectomy and the possibility that the lumps were cancerous. She has dealt with a surgery each year since and worked to maintain her grades. Twice within the last two years, her family has been evicted following her mother’s loss of her job. For a time, they were living in a homeless shelter. Nevertheless, Michel earned good grades on her exams and kept moving to the next grade.

Rosasana Ponce, community language facilitator at WHS, is one of Michel’s strongest supporters. “Tawana always has a positive outlook with remarkable resilience, strong moral, Christian values and dignity,” she said. “Currently she is living with one of her mother’s friends so she can finish school at Wellington High School while her mother and sisters are living in Lake Worth with her uncle.”

Michel plans to attend either Florida A&M University, Valencia College or Palm Beach State College to study nursing. Her decision will be based on which school offers her the best financial aid package.

WHS Principal Mario Crocetti sums it up best in his comments about Michel. “She is a courageous young woman who has met every challenge in her life with a smile on her face,” he said. “Undoubtedly her potential is unlimited.”