FRESNO, Calif. --A recent graduate from Central East High School has reached a big goal despite major challenges.
Erika Ramirez, 18, graduated with a 4.0 after missing a month of school and losing her mother in a deadly crash weeks earlier.
Ramirez lived through several major injuries and heaps of homework to catch up but she reached her goal with a broken heart.
"I guess we were coming back home and then it happened," she said.
Ramirez doesn't remember much about the rainy evening she was driving on Shields and Marks Avenues. She woke up in the hospital with major injuries and no memory of the fatal crash that killed her mom, 53-year-old Rosa Martinez.
"We were close," she said. "I mean it's hard."
But earlier this week, the 18-year-old, still unable to walk, received her diploma. Not just that, she got straight A's despite missing a whole month of school.
"It set me back in every class because I missed a lot of assignments and a lot of tests," Ramirez said. "I'm in AP classes too, so I missed workloads."
So, from dawn until way after the sun set Erika worked to catch up on school work. She's always been studious, but now success wasn't only for her -- it was in honor of her inspiring mom.
"She encouraged me a lot," she said. "Basically supported everything that I had like plans for the future."
In a few weeks, doctors expect Erika will be well enough to walk.
She plans to major in criminology and will start Fresno State in the fall.