The youngest graduate at Fort Valley’s 76th Spring Commencement took her steps across the stage to receive her diploma Saturday morning at the school's Health and Physical Complex.
In addition to being the youngest, Deja Clay also completed her undergraduate program debt free.
At the age of 20, she graduated from Fort Valley State University in two years.
“I feel grateful and blessed mainly because it's only by [the] support of my family,” said Clay.
Clay is originally from Oglethorpe, Georgia.
By the time she graduated from Macon County High School in 2015, she had completed 44 college credits through dual enrollment.
While in college, she averaged 20 credit hours per semester.
Her mother Monica says that the road wasn’t always smooth.
“Yea she had sleepless nights, crying nights,” said Monica. “It wasn't easy, but she was determined to make it.”
2017 FVSU Spring Commencement
Fort Valley State University president Paul Jones gave words of encouragement to the graduates of 2017.
“Whatever career you enter, you will be expected to hit the ground sprinting and keep running at that pace as it extends into a marathon,” said Jones. “You will be hired for your ability to out think the competition. To solve challenges with fewer resources."
She says that she throughout her time at Fort Valley she’s only received two B’s.
“I'd rather fail with honor, then succeed with fraud,” said Clay.
With family by her side, she proudly holds her degree in her hand.
In the fall she will attend The University of Nevada, Las Vegas, to earn a second degree in health physics.
She plans to be a cardiovascular surgeon or a radiologist.
265 people received their diplomas from Fort Valley State University at Saturday's commencement