SENIOR SPOTLIGHT: These five seniors overcame the odds to graduate

Five graduating seniors in the Dayton region have overcome multiple challenges in their high school careers, from struggling with a lack of purpose, having a baby, losing a parent, working through the foster care system and becoming top of the game in a male-dominated sport.

Olivia Cox, Lexi Cupp, Sam Fecher, Ava Vo and Lily Zimmerlin all overcame challenges in their path to high school graduation. All five are headed to college and plan on career paths helping others.

Trotwood-Madison senior Olivia Cox struggled to find her purpose in her earliest high school years. She fought depression and brought her grades up from D’s and F’s to A’s and B’s. She plans to attend Central State University and study psychology to become a licensed counselor.

Stebbins High School senior Lexi Cupp had her son, Reese, in January. But she’s known since she was 16 that she wants to become a pilot. She plans to attend the University of Cincinnati with her husband and study aerospace engineering.

Legacy Christian Academy senior Sam Fecher moved to Ohio with his family from Vermont so his Baptist preacher father, Brian Fecher, could take a job at Legacy Christian Academy. But just a few months after they moved, Sam’s father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and died. Sam helped hold his family together as they healed. He plans to attend Wright State University and pursue veterinarian studies.

Springboro High School senior Ava Vo was 14 when her grandmother got a call saying Vo and her three younger siblings would be put into foster care. Vo was placed in three different foster homes, though she said all three were supportive. She has won multiple academic awards and plans to attend Miami University to study social work.

Brookville High School senior Lily Zimmerlin is an All-American wrestler. As a woman in a male-dominated sport, Zimmerlin had to find her own path. She plans to attend Alma College in Michigan and double-major in integrative physiology and health sciences and business. She wants to earn a Ph.D. in exercise science or physiology and become a collegiate women’s wrestling coach.

These five students were selected through nominations from their schools, friends and family and will be profiled throughout the week in the Dayton Daily News.

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