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High School Graduate Overcomes Challenges And Is Accepted To 20 Colleges

By David Spunt

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Hundreds of excited students and family members packed the room Wednesday night to watch the Parkway Center City High School seniors graduate.

One of those seniors, Malik Rivers, 18, sat patiently as he waited for his diploma. Rivers is all about beating the next challenge, and he had no problem beating 20 of them. He was accepted into 20 colleges.

"I did it and I want to show people throughout anything, you can conquer your past," Rivers told Eyewitness News.

His past was a difficult one. He grew up in a single parent household in Philadelphia and his mother struggled with addiction. His challenges intensified recently, after his mother relapsed. She didn't come to her son's graduation.

"I'm upset that she's not here because it's my mother and I want her to see me succeed but at the same time I got people that love me here," Rivers said with a smile.

One of those people is Joan McMllian, a mentor and second mom to Malik. She's a case worker with Gaudenzia and the two have become close friends.

"When I met this young man he had a goal and I knew this young man was going to be successful. He went to school on his own," she said.

Malik says McMillian changed his life.

"She's family to me," he said.

The new graduate decided to go to Indiana University of Pennsylvania and he'll study psychology, a new challenge he's ready to meet.

"I'm ready to go," he said.

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