Local college graduate beats the odds, wants to inspire others

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – It’s a story that hit social media by storm, with thousands of retweets and likes on Twitter.

38-year-old Opelousas native Latosha Babineaux, looks like any other graduate from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

“Oh my god, I’m over the moon! I’m glad it’s over,” said Babineaux.

But her story is different. Babineaux got pregnant at the age of 15, with her daughter who is now 23.

“I was sort of rebellious and I went the opposite way. I had a supportive family in high school, that allowed me to finish. But after high school, I wasn’t able to go to college because I had to work and provide for my daughter,” said Babineaux.

At the age of 31, she was working at a Lafayette hotel as an assistant general manager, but wanted more from life.

“I was getting paid less than some of the other workers, and when I asked, ‘Why am I not getting paid more?’ They said well these other people have degrees. So I said well I get back when I get a degree, and that was it,” said Babineaux.

She never went back to the hotel, but suffered another setback when she became homeless after a emotionally abusive relationship.

“I decided that I’d rather live in my car, than deal with any type of abuse from anyone,” said Babineaux.

A stranger from her church let Babineaux stay with her for 3 months until she got back on her feet.

She enrolled at the University of Louisiana in 2012, and now she can finally call herself a college graduate, with a B.A. in Liberal Arts, and a sequence in Sociology.

“She’s an inspiration to many others and to all our friends,” said her husband, Jude Alekhue.

Having beat the odds, Babineaux now wants to inspire others.

“I want somebody who’s been in my situation to know that they have the ability to do better. No adversity can bring you down. If you believe in yourself, you can do anything you want to do,” she said.

Babineaux is a McNair scholarship recipient due to her G.P.A. and because she’s a first generation college student.

Next Fall she will head to graduate school. She tells News 10 that she hopes to be a social worker to help others.

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