WEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - A South Florida woman received her college diploma, Sunday afternoon, reaching a personal milestone after overcoming a lifetime of obstacles.

Cornelie Johnson was one of thousands of students who graduated from Florida International University at a ceremony held at the Ocean Bank Convocation Center.

The 31-year old U.S. Air Force veteran said she left an abusive home at a young age and bounced between relatives before ending up sleeping at the 24-hour grocery store where she worked.

But Johnson persevered, refusing to give up. “All of this hard work. I’m done,” she said. “I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot. I’ve come a long way. I’ve learned a lot about myself, and … I’ve had a good support system.”

Johnson graduated with a bachelor of science in social work.

She is an advocate for sexual assault victims, and she plans to make a career out of helping others.

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