GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — She came into the world under circumstances beyond her control, but she’s been writing her own story ever since.
Angel Thomas is graduating from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University this week 22 years after she was found as an abandoned baby underneath a stairwell at a Greensboro apartment complex.
“I just took ownership of it, and I’m just proud of it. I don’t think I could ever get in a headspace of not being proud of where I came from again because, at the end of the day, your past is a part of you, but it’s not something that defines you,” Thomas said.
While at school, Thomas didn’t talk much about her journey.
“I was pretty quiet about it not because I was ashamed or anything, but just because I knew, ‘hey, I’m just here to do school.’ I’m in a place where no one knows me. I want to just be myself, and if my story pops up again, then it pops up again,” she said.
That’s exactly what happened when Thomas became senior class president.
“My dean…looked me up before I stepped into the role as president,” Thomas said.
That’s when he and others learned of her remarkable journey of being abandoned as a baby in November of 1999, being adopted, meeting the strangers who found her and succeeding academically.
“Every time you have an opportunity in front of you that you feel like would be viable for you, you need to go after that,” Thomas said.
Thomas will share words of encouragement with her peers as one of the commencement speakers during the May 9 ceremony.
Thomas initially wanted to become a pilot.
She has since realized that wasn’t for her and discovered a passion for safety.
She will graduate with a degree in Aeronautics with minors in Occupational Safety and Business Administration.