RICHMOND COUNTY, GA (WFXG) - High 5 4 Kids celebrates children who are shining bright in the community.
This week, we're celebrating Keaira Jefferson who recently graduated from the Academy of Richmond County High School with honors, and a large list of accomplishments to her name - all of this even though she went into foster care in the middle of her adolescent years.
For Keaira, school is where she thrived.
"I did four years of ROTC, and I? came out as a second lieutenant. I was the battalion commander in ROTC. I was in Beta Club. I was in senior counsel, Rho Kappa National Honor Society; I was in varsity basketball team, softball team and soccer team," Jefferson said.
On top of all those clubs and sports, her GPA was a 3.6.
"I? look at school like 'oh I have to go out there and get it,' because it's not going to be handed to me," Jefferson said. "I have to set myself outside of others in my class. Actually, I come to school to learn, not to make friends, not to associate with others, just actually get my high diploma."
"Keaira from the beginning has just always been just so resilient," Dawn Charleston-Green said, the CASA director for Richmond County. Charleston- Green was Keaira's foster advocate. "You would not be able to tell at all what her story is if you didn't read it somewhere."
Keaira entered into foster care in middle school. She and her siblings were split up into separate homes, but her drive to overcome was evident to Margaret Adams-McKie. Adams-McKie said she's fostered 10 boys and 5 girls over the past 30 years. She fostered Keaira's sister, and when the teen told her foster advocate she wanted to live with her sis, Adams-McKie took her on too, and Keaira blossomed.
"Keaira was a good child," Adams-McKie said. "Adams-McKie came into my life with a fire in her belly to succeed."
"We provide a stable environment, love, you know support – financially, spiritually, that she need, and Kiera took the rope and just ran with it on her own," she added.
"I would actually be the first individual of my brothers and sisters, my relatives, to go to college and basically pursue a career," Keaira said. "I just want to make that difference and set myself outside my family and still realize that, that is my family."
Charleston-Green said keeping closer to family made a big difference for the teen, because she spoke up and used her resources. Now Adams – McKie hopes other kids in the system will do the same.
"You know they're angry, and we get that, and they don't want the support and resources, but use your resources," Adams – McKie said, advising other children in foster care, "and you can have the same life Keaira is about to have."
Keaira Jefferson - Academy of Richmond County High School, graduate
"It feels good to have someone by your side and actually continue pushing you to make you better, yourself," Keaira said. "And that's what made me so eager about education, because I feel like you have to go out there. You got to get it yourself. Nobody's going to give you a slip, or diploma, certificate - you have to earn everything that you work hard for."
Keaira is planning on attending on Valdosta State University, to first get her four-year degree in nursing. Ultimately, she hopes to become a physician's assistant or a surgeon, so she can help others.
FOX 54's High 5 4 Kids features children who are do good for others, compete to be the best, or provide inspiration for their peers. If you'd like to nominate a child, send us an email to email@example.com.