UHV graduate overcomes challenges through family support

Ismael Perez By Ismael Perez

Dec. 15, 2017 at 10:12 p.m.
Updated Dec. 16, 2017 at 6 a.m.

Keaton Warren, left, hugs his mother, Laurilyn Warren, before his University of Houston-Victoria graduation ceremony. "I feel so accomplished," Keaton said. "Every little step I've taken to get here has been worth it."

Keaton Warren, left, hugs his mother, Laurilyn Warren, before his University of Houston-Victoria graduation ceremony. "I feel so accomplished," Keaton said. "Every little step I've taken to get here has been worth it."   Nicolas Galindo for The Victoria Advocate

At an early age, Keaton Warren was told there was little to no possibility he would ever walk to the "Pomp and Circumstance March."

It was Warren's delayed development as a toddler that made doctors unsure about his academic future.

"They told me, pretty much, 'Don't even go to college; you're not going to graduate,'" the 23-year-old Victoria general business major said. "They said I was going to have a lot of stress in the future."

Warren and his family flashed back to the many obstacles they overcame together as he walked the stage and graduated along with 491 University of Houston-Victoria students Friday at Faith Family Church.

The fall graduation usually takes place in Katy at the Merrell Center, but university officials found a new location because the building had sustained flood damage from Harvey, said David Cockrum, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs.

After he graduated from St. Joseph Catholic High School in 2012, Warren said he had three universities in mind - Texas Christian University, Texas State University and the University of Houston-Victoria.

"I am very family-oriented, so I figured staying here would be very beneficial for me," he said.

Warren's family members have been his biggest support system throughout his life.

He said he did not speak until he was 4 years old and had a hard time growing up. His family made appointments with doctors in Houston and Austin to see what problems he was going to encounter in the future, he said.

"I wasn't really functioning properly," Warren said. "I had ADD, ADHD and a bunch of learning disabilities."

He said his mother threw a fit about the doctors' prognosis and said, "Screw this."

Doug Warren, 58, and Laurilyn Warren, 52, said they found a way to work with their son and help him persevere.

Keaton Warren said his parents used his passion for athletics to teach him.

Every day for about three hours, his parents would test him on various subjects. And, if he got the answer correct, they would throw a tennis ball back to him.

Warren said the method was something that motivated him academically.

"We knew he had potential, and every step of the way, he kept succeeding," Laurilyn Warren said. "We had a little different parenting style with him - it was a little bit of instinct, prayer and hope."

In college, Keaton Warren said he continued to struggle but succeeded thanks to his parents and professors. He now plans to pursue a master's degree.

When asked who is the proudest of Warren and his academic accomplishment, his mother silently pointed at herself as she smiled and tried to hold back tears.

"My parents always wanted me to be successful; this means everything to them," Warren said. "I'm blessed and fortunate to be standing here today. I wouldn't be here right now if it weren't for them."


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