Single mother of five graduating from Fresno City College after overcoming life's obstacles

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Victoria Rocha says her life path has been filled with bad choices.

The Bakersfield native moved to Fresno when she was in high school to get away from trouble but realized she would always find it.

"I was a meth user. I was living in abandon houses and one day I went to jail," she said.

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Rocha is a mother of five, while in jail her parents took custody of her children.

She realized she needed to be sober and couldn't live on the streets in order to get her family back.

Rocha, who's now 35, turned to faith-based programs for help while in jail and enrolled in a few classes but during that time she suffered another setback.

"While I was there, their dad passed away. And so I got my kids back and it was a huge transition for us and I decided I needed to do something. How was I going to support these kids?" said she.

While working for Evangelical Homes, Rocha worked on getting her G.E.D. A counselor pointed out her high test scores and encouraged her to enroll at Fresno City College.

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"It was an extra push and encouragement for me to see my potential because when you are an addict you don't see your potential. You don't see who you are really supposed to be," said Rocha.

That potential helped Rocha get her associate's degree in human services.

She is one of nine students on the Dean's Medallion List and she was awarded the Tony Cantu President's Medallion.

Her entire family was there for the ceremony last week.

"It makes me feel good for them to know that regardless of the choices we make in life we don't have to stay with those choices. We can make positive change," she said.

Rocha has been clean for six years.

She will graduate from Fresno City College on Friday. Rocha will transfer to Fresno State this fall and major in social work and women's studies.

She hopes to work as a counselor for at-risk teens.

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