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Student Stories

Fighting for Health and a Loving Forever Home

August 25th, 2022
Sam, Grad Solutions Class of 2022

Sam (previously Molly) grew up in a dysfunctional home environment. As an adopted child, their home was unlike what we usually picture of adopted family life. After the adoption, the family felt Sam didn’t fit the image they had imagined for their child. Sam had learning disabilities, autism, mental health issues, and is a part of the LGBTQIA+ community. Sam experienced abuse and became estranged from the rest of the family.

Overcoming the Past

Despite the strained relationship with their adopted family, Sam had a vision of one day being welcomed into a loving family that supported them. They decided to focus on their mental health and get to a better place. 

It took Sam many years to overcome their fear. They were often told that they couldn’t do things because of their disability, mental health issues, and more. They had amazing supporters that helped Sam get to where they are today. 

Starting Over at a New School

When Sam started with Grad Solutions, their entire education experience changed. It was unlike a past school where students were mostly left to do things on their own. At GS, Sam received the support they needed to finish school.

A graduate receiving their diploma on stage

Sam was selected to share their experience at our 2022 graduation ceremony. “I want to thank David Ulm, my mentor, for getting me through school and encouraging me each day to get my schoolwork done,” says Sam.

“…Shout out to all my teachers for guiding me through my school work and staying by my side. The staff at GS has given me the motivation I needed to get on stage at graduation.”

Sam, class of 2022

Gaining Supporters

One thing Sam has learned is that anything is possible —if you want it bad enough. They want to thank Melissa, their best friend Finn and all the people who helped them through the most difficult parts of their life. Thanks goes to Pam, as well, who saw their capability and how they could shine.

A student surround by those who have supported them all the way to graduation

These caring people welcomed Sam with love and encouragement and let them know they would always have a home. Through the encouraging words of those around, they began to see the world differently. 

Words of Encouragement

Sam shares some advice for those who are experiencing a difficult life or phase of life. You can listen to Sam’s speech at graduation here.

“If you have been in a tough spot, don’t settle. Don’t give up on your dreams, one day everything will fall into place. Things will work out, if you fight for them. If you fall down, get back up. If you want something, go get it. None of this would have happened if I had given up.”

Sam, Class of 2022

The Grad Solutions team is honored to serve students like Sam who are looking for an accepting environment where they can learn with support and peace of mind to focus on learning. For those who are struggling just to get through the hardship of everyday life: things are hard but they will get better, please don’t give up!

Student sitting with other graduates, holding a rose and their diploma

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