LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- In foster care at the age of five, then adopted, then back in foster care, Tia Humphrey had every excuse not to keep going. However, she's graduating with honors on Saturday, thanks to school and music.

Crowded into the gym at Atherton High School, the class of 2018 prepares to take their final steps of high school, reflecting on the accomplishments of the last four years.

"I've been student of the month a few times," Tia Humphrey said. "And of course band. I was first chair in my band class." 

By all accounts, Humphrey should not be here. "Sometimes it was hard in school trying to pay attention when I was wondering where I was going to live," Humphrey said. 

Despite all the odds, she's graduating with honors and ready for the next step. "Oh, next year is exciting. I plan on majoring in secondary math education."

At five years old, Humphrey landed in foster care. "I was living with my mother when me and my sister were taken away from her." 

Just two years later, she was excited to learn she'd be adopted by her foster mother. "The judge gave us gifts, it was great!"

However, by the age of 13, Humphrey was back in foster care where she remains today. "It really makes you think like what's going on with me? What am I doing?"

Moving from foster home to foster home, she often had to leave her belongings behind and start new. "I had to always buy new things, and make new memories but then when I'd leave, I'd have to leave everything behind."

The one thing she took with her was her trombone. "In a different house or someone different, music was always there."

Humphrey had every excuse in the book to quit and go down a different path. Instead, she dedicated herself to school. When nothing in life seemed certain, she knew school was her only way to a better life.

"I always knew I was going to get myself out of this situation. I'm going to be good for me because at the end of the day I'm here for only myself." 

It's the drive that Atherton Counselor Maritza Cassidy calls unique and exceptional. "She's an inspiration to other people who could be out there with a lot of issues too and see that hey you can do it," Cassidy said.

Even when times got really tough, Cassidy said Humphrey never let that deter her. "Everyday, she would come to my office and say, 'it's going to be a good day Ms. Cassidy. This will pass. You'll see, this will pass.' She encouraged us more than we encouraged her," Cassidy said.

Her hard work and dedication are finally paying off. She'll head off to U of L next year where she'll study secondary math education in hopes of one day becoming a teacher. Then, she hopes to repay the favor and one day, help kids just like her.

"I was handed a bad stack of cards but it's all a matter of how you want to play those cards and I'm really happy that I've been able to keep my positivity and keep my smile throughout everything that's going on." 

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