A special ceremony was held in Smyrna Friday where most of the graduates were told at some point they could never make it in the real world.
But the class at the Tennessee Rehabilitation Center is learning how to beat the odds and defy detractors.
Samantha Coats was told this day would never come.
"They were like, "you're never going to amount to anything. You're just stupid and dumb, and you can't do it," said Samantha.
People told her she could never get over her learning disability and succeed. She heard the words, but never listened.
"I knew in my heart that I could do it one day and that I could overcome the fear of telling myself I can't go out in the community and do it on my own," said Samantha.
To prove it, she enrolled herself at the Tennessee Rehabilitation Center in Smyrna, where she learned to be confident and use the gifts she had. Friday morning she cheered on her friends and graduated with honors.
"Work hard to get the job you want and always remember what you learned at TRC," said Samantha.
She is one of six dozen graduates from the program. The program allowed them to learn life skills, such as how to balance a checkbook, maintain a home and learn career skills like how to get and maintain a job. Samantha said she already has big plans to attend culinary school.
Samantha and several of her fellow graduates have already secured jobs in the real world.
The TRC is one of eight centers of its kind in the country.
After Friday's graduation, more than 32,000 people have graduated from the program.
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