Greenwood teen graduates high school despite rocky childhood - FOX Carolina 21

Greenwood teen graduates high school despite rocky childhood

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Jayme Correia (left) on his graduation day. (Jan. 16, 2014/FOX Carolina) Jayme Correia (left) on his graduation day. (Jan. 16, 2014/FOX Carolina)
Several students from Emerald High and Greenwood High graduated early. (Jan. 16, 2014/FOX Carolina) Several students from Emerald High and Greenwood High graduated early. (Jan. 16, 2014/FOX Carolina)
GREENWOOD, SC (FOX Carolina) -

A Greenwood teen did Thursday what seemed impossible six years ago - he graduated high school.

Jayme Correia has had a rough childhood. He said his father was a drug addict and frequently left him and his siblings alone at night while he fed that addiction. His dad died of a drug overdose and before that, Jayme's mother left the family.

So Jayme was left alone, forced to float through the foster care system. He ended up at Connie Maxwell Children's Home in Greenwood, and that's when fate stepped in.

Dan Walters worked at the home and wanted to adopt Jayme.

"Being 12 years old and being adopted is very difficult," said Jayme.

That's because parents who want to adopt typically go for infants, and teens who are thrust into the foster care system late in life, in their pre-teens, many times do not get adopted.

"The general perception may be that kids in foster care are different or damaged, but I've met some incredible people, and he's one of them," said Walters, who adopted Jayme at 12.

Now, Walters and Jayme live in a lake house on Lake Greenwood. Jayme has ambitions of taking over the family's property management business.

And on Thursday, Jayme graduated from Emerald High School early. Walking across the stage was something he didn't dream possible in his foster care years.

"It completely changed my life for the better," Jayme said of his adoption.

Jayme will attend Piedmont Technical College, where he will major in business to help run some of his family's car wash locations.

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