For some high school seniors like Vincent "Moon" Clark, getting to graduation can feel like a long time coming.
Nowadays, you can find Moon in the library trying to soak up as much knowledge as possible, but he says it wasn't always this way.
"I was always just down at the bottom. I just never had that much guidance," Moon says.
Moon's father died when he was seven.
"No one ever taught me right from wrong. My mom has always been there in my life, but she couldn't teach me how to be a man, so I had to raise myself to be that type of person," he says.
Moon had to learn to grow up quick when he became a father at 13, but school was never a priority. He says he was in trouble constantly and his grades were plummeting.
By the time Moon turned 18, he had two more children.
"I want to be their hero," he says.
Moon says he realized he needed to get his head on straight after seeing the bad decisions his nine other siblings were making.
"By me being my mom's last child, I feel like I need to be the difference in the family, so that's why I want to turn my life around and make my mom's frown into a smile," Moon says.
Since then he has been hitting the books becoming a straight A student.
"And other teachers would come to my class and be like, 'Moon is working? How did you get Moon to work?' and I was like, 'I didn't do anything,'" Kenneth Driggers, Southwest economics teacher says.
Driggers says he's so proud of how Moon has turned his life around.
"And I think it's his determination and his grit that has allowed him to accomplish some things that he might not have even known he could accomplish," Driggers says.
Then a health crisis almost derailed Moon's plans.
"I actually had a busted intestine, and so I had immediate surgery because it was a life or death situation," Moon says.
Working with his teachers to keep on track, Moon not only succeeded, but has the highest average in two classes.
Moon says he will be the first person in his family to graduate high school.
"If you dream it, you got to chase it and you'll conquer it. I came from nothing as well, so if I can do it, anyone else can do it," Moon says.
Moon has decided to attend Fort Valley State University in the fall.
He says his major is undecided for now, but is excited for the chance of a future he never thought he would have.