IDAHO CITY — Aurora Adams is graduating a year early from the Idaho Technical Career Academy with 18 college credits this month to fast-track her future career in psychology.
"Helping people is always what I've liked to do. So if I can help someone I am always happy to do it," said Aurora. "I just love the fact that I can start college early cause I've always wanted to just start my career."
But, after she started classes at the academy, learning suddenly became very difficult. She had trouble concentrating on her homework and lost some of her memory, which led to a rare diagnosis.
"It's called Chiari malformation. My brain stem was growing into my spine and it sealed it so the spinal fluid built up which caused scoliosis," said Aurora. "They had to burn back my brain, and there's a part on the back of my skull that is missing."
Within a month of seeing the doctor and getting an MRI, Aurora was heading in for brain surgery.
"It was the scariest time we could have ever thought of," said Aurora's mom, Mari Adams.
While recovering in the hospital, Aurora missed school for several months.
"I had like 40 missing assignments," said Aurora.
She didn't let that stop her from reaching her goal of graduating early. She worked twice as hard to complete all the assignments and get ahead even when her teachers said she didn't have to.
"The fact that she is graduating as an 11 grader is amazing, especially in the technical pathway as a pharmacy tech program that we have," said ITCA Career Technical Ed Coordinator, Marcella Enos. "It's not easy by any means."
Aurora has wanted to be a psychologist since she was ten years old so that she can help people in difficult situations.
"We are just so proud of her," said Mari. "The drive and passion she had even when she was so sick is inspiring, and I can't wait to see her give back by helping others."
Aurora would tell others in similar situations, "It's going to be hard. It's going to be really hard, but it's going to be worth it."
Aurora will attend Boise State in the fall as she works towards a doctorate in psychology, a career she realized is even more critical now after seeing how COVID-19 is affecting people's mental health.