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FAMU students finding success one year after graduation

FAMU Graduates Overcome Obstacles
FAMU Graduates Overcome Obstacles
Posted at 5:17 PM, May 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-01 14:43:46-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - This week, thousands of college students in the Big Bend will be graduating.

Last year, we introduced you to three FAMU students who overcame significant challenges to get their degrees.

Nearly 1,100 Rattlers will graduate from The Highest of Seven Hills this week. The challenge is what happens after they leave campus and for three recent grads, they're already finding success.

"Keep going. Never give up," said Ariel Walker, a FAMU graduate of the class of 2017. "The sky isn't even the limit. There are no limits."

Ariel Walker, Dontae Thompson and Damon Arnold are part of FAMU's Class of 2017. Each of them had to push past obstacles to graduate.

Walker was federally indicted three years ago while she had started her journey at FAMU. She graduated with a criminal justice degree and opened a beauty bar last month called 'The Lady and the Crown.'

"I'm really into fashion and beauty and, you know, making people look good, so they can feel good about themselves, and, you know, that's pretty much what hair and makeup and nails and everything -- that's what it does, you know. It makes people feel beautiful inside and out," said Walker.

Thompson went to jail twice, including as a juvenile.

He graduated with a degree in computer information systems and has been working as a software engineer for a tech company in Melbourne.

"Don't let things that you went through in your past or when you were younger keep you from doing better, you know, in the future," said Thompson.

Arnold worked two jobs while studying at FAMU and he was homeless for some time.

He graduated with a degree in broadcast journalism and started working as a reporter in Valdosta for WALB, a sister station of WTXL.

Commencement for FAMU's Class of 2018 runs Friday and Saturday. For more on these Rattlers' stories, you can find our original story here.