Mikala Lain knew she was near the top of her class but was struggling to push herself to do her best.

During her sophomore year at Edinburgh Community High School, she was fighting an internal battle to get motivated to continue dedicating the time and effort it took to be among the best in her class.

“I really struggled sophomore year. I was ready to be done pushing myself,” Lain said.

Lain’s mother died when she was 13. Since then, her grandparents raised her and her younger brother. When she was a freshman, she learned she was among the top students in her class.

But soon after, she found herself coasting, simply going through the motions, she said.

Her grandparents, other family members, such as her aunts, and a few teachers pulled her out of the slump she was in.

“I was in a bad place. Sometimes it was really scary to imagine. I had to decide if I was going to stay in Edinburgh the rest of my life or if I was going to experience new things and build a new life for myself,” Lain said.

Lain propelled herself to the top of her class and found a passion that she said she believes is her calling, she said.

Next year, she will attend Butler University and major in psychology, with the goal of becoming a psychiatrist for children at a children’s hospital.

Lain said she realizes what she overcame is a common struggle many children and teenagers deal with, and she wants to build a career helping them the way family and teachers helped her, she said.

When Lain walked across the stage with her graduating class, she was thankful for all the people that helped her.

“A portion of graduating is for myself, but the majority is for the people that helped me,” Lain said.

Mikala Lain

Name: Mikala Lain

Age: 18

Guardians: Grandparents, Linda and Robert Lain

Residence: Greenwood

GPA: 4.23

College: Butler University

Major: Psychology

Career goal: Work as a children’s psychiatrist at a children’s hospital.

Corey Elliot is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at celliot@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2719.