Hale High School valedictorian first to go to college in her family
TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) -- The valedictorian at Hale High School is making history in her family.
Eunissa Blanke has walked the hallways at Hale for four years.
"This has been my whole life," Blanke said.
On Wednesday, she will graduate high school and be the first in her family to go to college, and she's doing it with a title: valedictorian.
"It feels unreal," Blanke said. "It doesn't feel like it is actually happening."
It wasn't easy.
"I had a rough childhood," Blanke said. She moved in and out of friend's homes nine times over the last few years.
"My mom was actually homeless," Blanke said.
Blanke was forced to be her own cheerleader.
"It was really hard," Blanke said. "I am going to cry, but it was really hard. I didn't want to do it, but I didn't feel like I had a choice."
Blanke says she practically raised herself, all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.
"I just toughed it out," Blanke said. "It wasn't bad but I just wish I would have grown up with my brothers and my family like a normal household."
She reminded herself of one thing every day. "This is my way out, this is what I have to do," Blanke said, and she did it.
"Just like any other teenager, she had to go through some issues, but the issues she had were so much bigger than this school," Assistant Principal James Isaacs said.
Isaacs took Blanke under his wing.
"She's been like a daughter to me at the school here," Isaacs said.
Blanke says she owes a lot to Isaacs.
"I wouldn't have probably been able to achieve valedictorian without him," she said.
Now, she's off to college at Oklahoma State University.
"All the love that was given to me, I want to be able to spread that with people," Blanke said. She plans to pay it forward one day.
Blanke says she wants to become an oral surgeon.
But first, she'll walk across the stage at Hale High Schools' graduation on Wednesday.