Rock Hill resident Kevin Hawthorne is doing something Saturday he did not think possible. He’s graduating from college.
“Where I’m from is not such a good place, but it’s what you make out of it and I know I can do better,” he said.
The 25-year-old Greenville native grew up in a small complex surrounded by challenges.
“There’s a lot of crime out there,” Hawthorne said. “I wasn’t doing so well.”
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At one point, Hawthorne said he was sleeping in his grandmother’s abandoned apartment after she died. He had nowhere else to go.
That changed three-and-half years ago when Hawthorne moved to Rock Hill to attend Clinton Junior College. In May 2013, the school became Clinton College.
“It was the best decision of my life,” he said. “These people have changed my life. I could be in the street right now.”
Hawthorne first earned his associate’s degree from Clinton and on Saturday will accept his bachelor’s degree in business administration. The ceremony will take place at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Kenneth Monroe Transforsmation Center, 745 Saluda St., Rock Hill.
“Clinton is a great school,” he said. “It helped me get over some tough times. I could care less about college, but I do care now because I understand the challenges you have to face ... and this is just a stepping stone.”
Hawthorne has been accepted to Winthrop University, where he will begin working in the fall to earn a master’s degree.
Hawthorne plans to work toward a Doctor of Business Administration degree and start his own business helping others better their lives.
For now, Hawthorne said he is looking forward to graduation and a better future.
“I had family that loved me and supported me through everything that I’ve done, so my whole family is happy,” he said. “It’s amazing to get to the level I’m at. I never thought I would be here.”