KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It's been more than eight-and-a-half years since Hurricane Katrina slammed the Gulf Coast destroying nearly everything in its path.
Thousands of people were left homeless and the metro welcomed many of them with open arms. Thursday night one of those who now call Kansas City home celebrated a milestone with a few hundred others.
Olivia McReynolds moved to Kansas City in September 2005 with her family. She was just about to turn 10 years old. She was shy and wasn't sure about the move her family made
Now in 2014, she's all grown up and living life. She graduated from Winnetonka High School Thursday night. She credits her family and caring teachers for getting her through a tough time.
"Just having so many people in my life to help me along the way to help me adjust to being, to moving it wouldn't have been possible without the people that have helped me," explained Olivia
Several years later, Olivia has moved on, she has a hard time remembering what it was like when Katrina hit. She doesn't dwell on it and most of her friends had no idea Katrina is the reason she's here.
"People are like, 'Oh, why is the camera here?' I'm like, 'well about that, like 7 or 8 years ago I moved here from Louisiana and came from Hurricane Katrina,' and they're like, 'Oh really?'"
Olivia's mother, Dawn McReynolds, was on the verge of tears talking about how proud she is.
"It was a big move, but I did it for my kids, education was better they had more opportunities in school," said Dawn.
Opportunities Olivia took full advantage of. She lettered in choir, cheer, orchestra and many more activities. She's made some life-long friends and is eager to continue on with her life.
Olivia will attend UMKC in the fall and major in nursing. She also made the cheer squad and is looking forward to rooting on the Roos.