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5 Star Student: The road to recovery

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Paige DiPirro is a student at Northeast State Community College.

She is actively involved in several organizations on campus. Last month, she organized a panel on sexual assault awareness.

While her life is filled with advocacy events now, she wasn't always a social activist. Her journey to college was a difficult one.

"After high school, I had essentially given up. I started using drugs more regularly, and eventually became an IV user," said DiPirro.

She says she started using drugs in high school to try and escape a difficult home life.

She overdosed six times before finally realizing she wanted a change.

"I thought, 'six times! I really can't die!' I figured I might as well find a way to start living," said DiPirro.

She moved from Florida to Tennessee when she was 23-years-old. She then became a student at Northeast State, where she threw herself into work.

"I got involved with everything I possibly could. Any opportunity I had to do community service, or activism, or advocacy, I always took it,"said DirPirro.

She says she's motivated to help others because of the horrors she saw as an addict.

"I think because I experienced everything I did, and was able to come back from it, that I have a viewpoint that is probably unique," said DiPirro.

Her professors are extremely impressed with the amount of work she's accomplished.

"I have no idea how Paige does everything she does. In just writing a list of her accomplishments-- I got tired," said Tricia Crawford, an associate professor at Northeast State.

While DiPirro admits, sometimes she still thinks of going back to drugs, she's now on a path the motivates her to stay clean.

"This is a life that I've made for myself and that I've worked really hard to create. I don't want to give it up," she said.

She hopes to continue her education after graduating from Northeast State. She says she dreams of becoming a state lawmaker to become a game changer for those in need.

Her dedication to helping others makes her a 5 Star Student.

If you know an outstanding student like DiPirro, send an email to eromano@wcyb.com.

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