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Warren Central grad rises above situation

Male graduate receiving diplomaBy KATIE BRANDENBURG - BG Daily News

In another seven months, Courtney Persinger, 18, of Bowling Green, expects to have her Associate of Science degree from Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College, but on Saturday she accepted her high school diploma along with her classmates at Warren Central High School.

A total of 199 students from Warren Central High School out of 206 graduates were honored in the graduation ceremony at Western Kentucky University s E.A. Diddle Arena on Saturday afternoon.

Persinger has been taking college classes since the beginning of the school year and has already accrued about 43 credit hours. She expects to get her Associate of Science degree from SKYCTC in December.

She earned her credits while working at Sonic and taking elective courses at Warren Central.

Persinger said she s excited to graduate for the freedom it will provide her to continue her studies without the time constraints of a high school schedule.

I really just want to be able to get out, not have any limitations, like time restrictions in having to come here, and ready to ... really pursue it, she said Thursday at Warren Central.

After earning her associate degree, Persinger said she wants to transfer to Murray State University to become a pre-veterinarian student with the goal of becoming a zoo veterinarian.

She said a difficult childhood has driven her to achieve academically.

I ve always had an understanding, as a kid, of my situation, and I ve always understood that I don t want to live like that, I don t want to let it define me, I want to do better than where I came from, Persinger said.

Persinger lived with her grandmother from a young age because her mother was not around a lot and her father was in and out of jail.

Money was tight, but she remembers her grandmother reading a lot. She would give Persinger books she finished. That meant Persinger was reading higher-level books by age 4 or 5, she said.

When her grandmother went to the store she would buy Persinger math workbooks.

And she d give me, like, fifth grade math and give me a bag of pinto beans and I d sit there and count out stuff and learn math that way, Persinger said.

Persinger s mother is back in her life now.

Persinger lives with her mother and little brother, and she said her mother s example of hard work has inspired her. Persinger has had a part-time job since she was 16.

She has two younger brothers and a younger sister and said she wants to help them in any way she can.

Still, Persinger said she always understood that she couldn t let work get in the way of an education even when she was working until 10 on school nights and until midnight on weekends while taking college and high school classes.

I ve always had an understanding that education is the most important thing in the world because it can take people in a situation like mine and make them into greatness, she said.

Brad Tolbert commended graduates on a job well done during Saturday s ceremony.

As your principal, the view from where I stand is priceless, he said.

Tolbert was recently removed from his position as principal; a Warren County Public Schools spokesperson said he will continue to be employed by Warren County Schools but did not say in what capacity.

Tolbert said the class of 2015 has made his time at Warren Central a special time in his life that he will always cherish.

All I can say is, I was there, Tolbert said. I saw all the things that you accomplished. I saw the love in your hearts. I saw a spirit that could not be defeated. I saw laughter. I saw tears of compassion. I saw brothers and sisters, and because of the class of 2015 I have never felt better about the future than I do right now.