Drive-thru graduation for Bryant foster care teen

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BRYANT, Ark. — Only 20 percent of kids in foster care graduate from high school, and one Bryant teen walked across the stage this year as the only person in foster care to graduate in Saline County.

Unfortunately this teen had no one in the stands cheering for her as she passed a huge milestone.

Tonight one group put together a graduation drive thru to celebrate with her.

“A lot of bumps in the road to make it to where I am at right now so it’s pretty exciting,” said Avanna Hawkins.

Kids in foster care face a lot of challenges; especially if they are bounced home to home.

Avanna, beat the odds and jumped all the hurdles to graduate with the class of 2020.

“I was pretty excited but I was also kind of sad because of all the things I have been through,” said Avanna Hawkins. 

One of her biggest achievements so far, and she had no one in the stands cheering her on.

“Well being a kid in foster care is pretty hard in the first place and when you’re bounced around a lot it’s even harder,” said Avanna Hawkins 

Hawkins says she was placed in foster care with her sister when she was 13 years old; her parents rights were terminated and she has been bouncing around ever since.

Pam Davis with Saline Perry foster parent association met Hawkins three years ago, and helped in planning this drive thru celebration.

“She was pretty heartbroken about graduation and not having parents there and sometimes for kids in care, those biggest life moments can be the times they feel the loneliest and so we just want to make sure she know there are so many people rooting for her,” said Pam Davis, Saline Perry County Foster Parent Association.

Dozens of people came out to show their support and celebrate Hawkins.

She says what keeps her going is her future family.

Hawkins, “I want to do better for them so I’m going to keep up the good work, keep focused and make myself into something so they can have the life I never had growing up,” said Avanna

She says she now plans to go to Pulaski Tech then on to become a dental hygienist.

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