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Phoenix woman in her 20s perseveres to earn diploma

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.

About the Author


Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.

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