Overcoming adversity to obtain college degree

It was all of dream for 22-year old Patrick Plunkett four years ago when he embarked on a journey he once thought was impossible.

COLUMBIA, SC (WACH) - It was all of dream for 22-year old Patrick Plunkett four years ago when he embarked on a journey he once thought was impossible.

Plunkett is a foster child with a Fragile X Syndrome, a genetic condition causing a learning disability. However, he does not allow his condition to deter him from achieving his dreams. He's added to his family's long list of accomplishments as a proud 2014 graduate of the University of South Carolina.

"When the big day came everybody was excited, I was excited to see myself walk across that stage so it was great," said Patrick Plunkett.

"It was just joy," added Patricia Scott, Patrick's foster mom.

Patricia says Patrick's biological mother suffered from a disability, and was unable to care for him. She says she took him in and loved him as if he was her own son, and to see that his dream becoming a Gamecock was fulfilled is uplifting to her.

"To know that we had done something for him to help him get to a point in life as he calls it a milestone, it helped him in a way to where I know he would appreciate it," added Scott.

Patrick studied criminal justice at Carolina by participating in a unique program called The Carolina Life Program.

Carolina Life is designed for students with intellectual or cognitive disabilities.

Garnett and black are very familiar in the Plunkett family. Patrick's older brother and fellow Gamecock, Ron Scott, describes seeing his brother walk across the stage as a surreal moment.

"Seeing that happen and seeing how he was beaming and excited was a moment that I won't soon forget," said Ron Scott.

"Without the support, you just fall, you give up,â?? added Patrick.

In a luncheon held at the Department of Social Services Friday afternoon, Patrick recognized his case worker Wynona Doctor who has played a vital role in his life.

"It makes me feel honored," said Doctor. "I've had several other youth on my caseload in the past who have graduated high school, and it's been years since I've actually witnessed a college graduation so it really makes me feel good as his former case manager."

"Without Miss Wynona, I don't think it would have happened," said Patricia.

Though Patrick is checking off another goal on his list, he says he looks forward to giving back to the community through working with his church and the Department of Juvenile Justice. He says he also plans to find work with the Palmetto Richland Hospital, where he has volunteered for several years.

"I encourage anyone with any disabilities to go to college, pursue your dreams. It doesn't matter what it is. If you have the support system for it, then go ahead and do it," concluded Patrick.