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Adali Ortiz is shown in her cap and gown. (KTAR Photo/Bob McClay)

PHOENIX -- A Phoenix woman now has her high school diploma because she wouldn't take no for an answer.

Adali Ortiz, 22, was a junior at North Canyon High School when she gave birth. She had to drop out of school to take care of her daughter, Ava Marie.

Last year, with the encouragement of her husband Raoul and father Javier, she decided to return to North Canyon.

They said no.

"I was about to turn 21," said Ortiz. "Most of the high schools don't take you when you're 21 because I think that's like the latest age you can be in high school."

Administrators at North Canyon advised her to get a GED. But Adali was determined to graduate from high school. A friends suggested you check out Arizona Collegiate High School in Phoenix.

"They accepted me, and they helped me through the whole process," Ortiz said.

It paid off. Tuesday night, her husband, father and 3-year-old daughter were on hand when she got her diploma. Her mother is in Mexico because of her immigration status and could not attend the ceremony.

Nevertheless, Ortiz is proud.

"There's no words to explain this feeling," she said. "It's a very special moment."

Ortiz plans to attend Phoenix College and eventually have a career in healthcare. She hopes to work with kids at Phoenix Children's Hospital.

Bob McClay, Reporter

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