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'No rain, no flowers': Warner Robins High senior dedicates academic success to late mother

Aaliyah Holder had a tough start to high school after losing her mom to cancer, but she focused on her education and is now graduating in the top 10 of her class.

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — As part of our 'Great Grads' series, we're highlighting some stellar students in the Central Georgia community. 

Warner Robins High senior Aaliyah Holder is a resilient young lady who had a tough start to high school but is now graduating on top.

"My favorite saying is 'no rain, no flowers.' So, without rain, you can't grow into the person you will be," she said.

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Holder faced the hardest moment in her life before starting high school -- losing her mother to ovarian cancer.

"I was in eighth grade, and I found out that things were getting worse. She went to hospice in December 2015, and then she passed away on January 2nd, 2016," she said.

With the support of her sister, aunt and Warner Robins High School staff, she focused on what her mother always said was most important -- education.

"It's really important to me to get good grades, so I make everybody proud," Holder said.

She balanced cheerleading, BETA Club and Partners Club, which builds relationships between students with and without disabilities, while keeping a 3.9 grade point average.

"It can be really challenging at times, but I'm an extreme perfectionist, so I need everything to be perfect all the time, so I try to make schedules and stick to them," Holder said.

Now she's graduating seventh in her class. She knows she's making her mother proud.

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"It was really hard, but I knew I had to do what she wanted me to, and she wanted me to keep going, so I knew that's what I had to do," Holder said.

Holder plans to study biology at Middle Georgia State University and work toward a career in pharmacy.

She said she's passionate about helping others and working toward finding a cure for cancer.

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