NewsSouthwest High School Senior Defies Odds Graduates With Honors

Southwest High School Senior Defies Odds Graduates With Honors

“If you told me five, six or years ago I’m going to be graduating now with the respect and honors I have, I wouldn’t believe you,” he said during an interview.

Luckily, life is filled with second chances, and there’s no exception for one high school student. For Southwest High School senior McKinlee Hall, that moment has come as he reflects on the journey that got him to this point—walking across the stage to receive his diploma with honors in tow.

“If you told me five, six or years ago I’m going to be graduating now with the respect and honors I have, I wouldn’t believe you,” he said during an interview with 13WMAZ. 

While preparing to say goodbye to his high school days after serving as an officer and student-athlete, Hall recalls earlier years where, as a product of his environment, he made choices that weren’t always so favorable.

“I was in a single-parent home,” he said. “I only have my mother, and I don’t even know my father.” 

Watching his mother battle with substance abuse at a young age hurt Hall, and it wasn’t long before he was having encounters with the law. “I had found myself with a group of friends that got me in trouble,” he added. “So I ended up going to an alternative school.”

As his childhood seemingly slipped away, Hall found himself tackling even more adult responsibilities to support his household, which included helping to take care of his sister. They ultimately moved in with an aunt, but that quickly changed when she relapsed on drugs. By then, Hall was a junior in high school and knew he had to make decisions to turn their lives around.

“It was times like we would go to sleep, you know, no food, and I would have to go and rake yards just to get some money to put on the lights,” Hall recounted. “Seeing what my sister was going through, she was hurt and going through the motions, so it was like, I gotta change for us.”

The pressure was on, so Hall shifted his focus to academics, football, and faith, ultimately closing out his senior year with a GPA of 3.2.

“It taught me self-accountability. It taught me responsibility,” said Hall, reflecting on how each challenge led to this moment.

Hall admits that this would not be possible without the support of his friends and teachers at Southwest Hall. He also says that his late grandmother and brother are with him every step of the way.

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Source: Black Enterprise

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