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Beyond The Bell: Graduates Facing Challenges

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It’s graduation time for Oklahoma City Public School seniors, but the road to getting that high school diploma was paved with poverty and homeless for two stand-out seniors. It’s graduation time for Oklahoma City Public School seniors, but the road to getting that high school diploma was paved with poverty and homeless for two stand-out seniors.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

It is graduation time for Oklahoma City Public School seniors, but the road to getting that high school diploma was paved with poverty and homeless for two stand-out seniors.

Life has been no easy game for Tyritta Dixon. She was bounced around from home to home as a child and sexually abused before having her daughter as a freshman at Northwest Classen High School.

"Some people don't know how it feels to be unloved or unwanted or to feel like you're not important," Dixon said.

Dixon found peace playing basketball.

"Even if I'm sad, all I need to do is pick up a ball, and I'll be ok," Dixon said.

Dixon never thought she'd be able to go to college, and thanks to her coach, she's headed to Brown Mackie College in Salina, Kansas.

"Sometimes you see the homelessness or you see the molestation, or being raped or having a kid, but that's just one piece of the puzzle, she has all of those pieces connected together," said Jackee Brown, Varsity Girls Basketball coach for NW Classen.

Dixon's achievements were featured in Sports Illustrated.

At Southeast High School, Honor-roll student Bao Do recalls growing up in poverty when his family moved to the U.S. from Vietnam when he was four-years-old.

"There were times where like when we didn't have any money like because my dad, it was really hard for him to get a job over here, and my mom couldn't work because she was sick all the time," Do said.

Do and his brother had to get jobs to support their family and said they were often teased because they didn't speak English well.

"I was being made fun of in school because I was not like everyone else, I didn't have money to afford shoes, clothes, phones or backpacks, and that really got to me,” Do said. “I didn't fit in I didn't have cable TV or internet, I was by myself and I had to cope with it, so I had to find stuff that I had in common with people instead of looking at differences.”

Determined to make a difference, Do is now Senior Class Treasurer and has a full-ride college scholarship to become an engineer.

"I feel like if I didn't do anything, I wouldn't make a difference," he said.

Both students are grateful to be graduating high school despite the overwhelming odds.

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