CHS Graduate Celebrates Major Milestone following Health Battles
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - It was a very special night for the Charlottesville High School class of 2019, especially for one graduate who beat all the odds.
Raquel Monroe crossed the stage at John Paul Jones Arena on Thursday, June 6, to get her degree, and it’s a huge milestone for her and her family.
"I just didn't want to give up is all,” Raquel said.
Surrounded by friends and family, Raquel crossed the stage Thursday night to graduate from high school with the rest of her classmates from Charlottesville High School.
“We are so proud of her, we are so proud of her,” Lucy Alston, Raquel’s mother, said.
Raquel had the odds stacked against her after her life flipped upside down two years ago during a family vacation.
“The MRI showed Raquel had hydrocephalus, which is water on the brain and swelling of the brain, so immediately she had to go to the hospital and have immediate brain surgery,” Alston said.
During the surgery, doctors found a brain tumor that they were unable to remove.
“It was difficult, like really painful, but I didn't let it stop me,” Raquel said.
Shortly after, Raquel started losing her vision and was also diagnosed with scoliosis. She then started taking classes at the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind in Staunton.
“I was still confident, and I just wanted to do what was best for me so I just kept on going forward,” Raquel said.
While going through physical therapy, Raquel kept up with her school work and even made it on the honor roll.
“She’s had a long hard road and she continued for the past two years to continue to do her homework, continue to turn in her assignments, continue to get great grades,” Alston said.
“I'm just so proud of her,” Alicia Gough, Raquel’s sister, said. “She didn't let anything - the surgeries, the pain, anything - stop her from doing her work."
Raquel hopes her story will help inspire others who may be in her shoes one day to never get up and always follow their dreams.
“Anything is possible, so like even if you lose your vision or anything you can still do stuff,” Raquel said.
Raquel will continue taking classes at the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind until she is 21, and hopes to have a career in game design one day.