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Titan's story of survival inspires parents, friends (video)

By Bianca Montes
June 7, 2014 at 1:07 a.m.

Tayler Moore looks back at a friend as the first names are called for the East Victoria High School graduation. As students walked on stage, other students became even more excited for their turn.

Victoria East High School Class of 2014 - Top Honors

Summa Cum Laude

• Dallan Jacob Bushman

•  Albert Chen

• Andrew Jing Lam

•  Shahed Nielsen

•  Carolyn Michelle Norris

•  Iliana Lorraine Reyna

•  Heidi Ann Shay

•  Florence Ming-Yin Sung

Magna Cum Laude

•  Haley Sue Beahm

•  Kendall Diane Carter

•  Alyse Doninguez

•  Aubrey Leanne Gutierrez

•  Briana Lauren Gutierrez

•  Kasey Ann Heitzmann

•  Robert Daniel Jurgens

•  Rachel Margaret Mansker

•  Ross Michael Mantey

• Paige Nicole Mareth

•  Casey Nicole Pagel

•  Monica Danielle Smith

Tayler Moore almost didn't survive her first two years of life - she endured more than 20 surgeries before her second birthday.

Tayler, 18, was born with a sealed stomach, damaged esophagus and kidney problems and later developed malabsorbtion, a condition in whcih it was difficult to absorb the nutrients in food.

But if you ask her today, the 18-year-old says she's just a normal teenage girl who's excited about embarking on the next chapter of her life.

Tayler crossed the field Saturday with the 2014 graduating class of Victoria East High School. The class was the first group of freshmen to enter Victoria East four years ago and the first class to graduate having attended all four years at the school.

Lead counselor Karen Bigham said she knew many of the students since kindergarten when she was their elementary counselor but said starting as a new class in a new school with them four years ago was a special treat for her.

"We went through a lot of changes together," Bigham said. "These kids are great, and they're very proud to be the first freshman class to graduate."

As a graduating senior, Tayler said she has one piece of advice for incoming students: Get to know your teachers.

"They can make you or break you," she said.

Kathy Moore, 46, said most people today don't realize the struggles her daughter went through earlier in life.

"She wasn't supposed to live, and for her to be as normal as she is," Moore said. "I'm just in awe she survived - We survived."

Tayler is part of the National Honor Roll, a former competitive cheerleader and a soon-to-be college student with the hopes of majoring in engineering. She will study at the University of Houston-Victoria in the fall and as soon as she "makes up her mind," she'll transfer to another university "a little further from home," she said.

Tayler was accepted to five schools but wasn't ready to make a decision about where to spend the next four years of her life.

"I'm going to go off somewhere," she said, excited about her future prospects.

While several fathers out there are dreading the day their little girls grow up and leave for college, Jeff Moore, 46, said he's not worried about his daughter's future.

"She's got a good head on her shoulders," he said. "She looks like her mother, but she's just like her daddy."

If one lesson comes from their daughter's early years, Tayler's parents said it's that life's too short and to not stress the small things.

"She's strong," her father said.

"Confident," her mother added. "She has a level head, she knows what she likes and what she doesn't, and she's got good morals."

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