BLACKVILLE, S.C. (WJBF) — Thursday, June 23 the Blackville community honored three of their own, including one young woman named valedictorian. The celebration was held at the Blackville Community Center, but the story starts about a mile away at Beaver Dam Apartments.

“I never thought I would be here today,” Tanasia Goodwin told NewsChannel 6’s Aiken Bureau Chief Shawn Cabbagestalk,” she said. “It took a lot of late nights and studying hard work and self-discipline. And sometimes I had to sacrifice getting sleep after work and coming home to do work for school,” she added.

The sacrifice is now paying off after becoming valedictorian of her graduating class. Valedictorian, I made it happen,” Goodwin said laughing. “I have been staying out there for my whole life, 19 years,” Raequan Odom said. Odom is a star on the gridiron and the hardwood. He says the Blackville team pushed him to success.

“Everybody was on the same page, and everybody wanted good grades. The community’s just like anywhere else you go,” he added.

The SC Regional Housing Authority recognized them for completing part of the mission of getting an education, with a ceremony at the Blackville Community Center. Certificates were given out for their achievement. “We work hard to make sure they understand the opportunities that living in the housing authority,” Blackville-Hilda High School counselor Karen Whaley said. “It does, it shouldn’t limit whatever they wanna do,” she added.

Mercedes Harley has lived in Beaver Dam for several years. She graduated with a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from Voorhees College. “I will say with God, anything is possible,” she said. “It was a rocky journey for me, but through it all, I made it,” she added.

While the future is bright for the trio, Goodwin has plans to become a dentist and Harley has this message for young students.”Stay in school first, get your education. If you would like to college and have a future, you can go. But if not it’s okay. Because you can always go into the workforce,” she said.