The odds were stacked against Caity Glover when she started high school.
The 18-year-old New Technology High School student knew students like her, students who grow up in abusive homes, often don’t make it to graduation.
But Glover is stubborn.
She refused to believe the abusers in her life who told her she’d never go far.
“It was kind of just like, no, I’m definitely going to prove you wrong,” Glover said. “And I’m going to be extremely smug when I do.”
She’s got plenty to be smug about.
Glover will receive her diploma on Sunday, and the girl who walks the graduation stage will be unrecognizable to the girl who started at New Tech four years ago with trust issues and few friends.
Glover grew up in Volin and moved to Sioux Falls to live with her aunt and uncle at the start of her eighth-grade year, leaving behind her biological parents and an abusive home.
When she started high school, she feared group projects and thought she’d get stuck doing all of the work.
That’s tough at New Tech, a project-based learning school in which coursework is comprised largely of group projects, but Glover faced a turning point in her American Experience class junior year.
It’s a notoriously difficult class at the school. Projects have fewer guidelines, meaning students have to be more creative in meeting course requirements, but those challenges brought Glover closer with her classmates.
“I went from having like maybe five friends from sophomore year to like, all of my grade pretty much like, hey, we’re cool,” Glover said.
By the time she was a senior, Glover was sought out by her peers as a team player. She’s had a chance to serve as an example of success to younger students at the school, and her friends know her as a good teacher.
After graduation, Glover is taking her work ethic to the military. She’s enlisted in the Marines and plans to start her training in September.
When asked what her diploma means to her, Glover begins to get emotional. Her face reddens, and she apologizes for the tears in her eyes.
But when she talks about this accomplishment, it’s clear that she’s proud of the work she’s done.
“Statistically, I should not be graduating,” she said. “And the fact that I am, it’s pretty cool.”