KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) - By all rights, TK Bryant should not have been here on this day,for, perhaps, the biggest "senior farewell day" ever at KalamazooCentral High School -- preparing to get his diploma, preparing forcollege, preparing for a presidential commencement speech.
"It means a lot to me, because I proved to myself I could do iteven though everyone was telling me I couldn't," the 18-year-oldtold 24 Hour News 8.
TK started life without a dad, raised by a teen-age mom inGreenville, Miss., who didn't make him go to school. Instead, he'dspend days at a time at home, during the school year, watching TV,longing to learn.
"I remember wanting to go. I enjoy education. I like to workhard, and I know that was a place that dreams come true."
He flunked first grade, then flunked second grade, fell twoyears behind, was teased by younger classmates.
"Flunker, stupid. Oh, you're so dumb. Why did you stay behind?But none of them knew my story."
Then, his grandmother got custody, moved him to Michigan, taughthim that he could learn.
"He said, 'No, I can't learn.' I said, 'You can learn. There'snothing wrong with you. You just need someone to take time to teachyou," said grandmother, Jacqueline Bailey.
First, she taught him to multiply.
"We started with 2s and 3s and on up, and he started seeing thathe could actually learn, and then he got excited about math."
"There was no stopping him from there."
He skipped past sixth grade, straight to seventh. Then, lastyear, he told his Kalamazoo Central counselor he had a plan -- tocatch up the rest of the way and graduate with his peers, tosqueeze three years of high school into two.
"He knew he was, in his heart, he was the Class of 2010, andthat's what he wanted to do, and he did it," said his counselor,Angelita Nivala.
TK took summer classes, night classes, courses at KalamazooValley Community College.
On Monday, he'll be among 300 in the Class of 2010, listening toa commencement speech by President Obama.
"For him, it's icing on the cake," said Principal VonWashington. "Just like President Obama, himself, always says 'hopeand change.' He (TK Bryant) represents that, pushing yourself,trying to get yourself to the next level."
There will also be another special guest on Monday -- TK'smom.
24 Hour News 8 and woodtv.com will provide complete coverage of President Obama's commencent speech to the Kalamazoo Central Class of 2010 on Monday.
Bethany Murk, 48, was arrested Thursday following a drug bust in Van Buren County.
Flags were lowered to half-staff across South Africa and people in black townships, in upscale mostly white suburbs and in the country's vast rural grasslands commemorated Nelson Mandela with song, tears and prayers on Friday while …
The victim driver could face charges, and alcohol is believed to be a factor in the crash, police said.