GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — A Guilford County woman who was abandoned at birth is now graduating from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University as the president of her graduating class.
Angel Thomas was left under an outdoor stairwell at a Greensboro apartment complex in November 1999. She was found by a woman early in the morning and was later adopted by her now-parents. Thomas was raised in Gibsonville and went to T. Wingate Andrews High School while also doing various youth and leadership development activities throughout her childhood. In 2018, she won Miss Teen Greensboro and was the first runner-up in Miss Teen North Carolina.
Now 22, Thomas is about to graduate from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with a degree in Aeronautics and minors in Business and Occupational Safety.
"Through everything that’s ever happened in my life I’ve just kind of kept this attitude of being positive and staying focus(ed) toward the future and knowing that even though your past is a part of you it’s not something that’s ever going to define you," Thomas said.
The Gibsonville native originally went to Embry-Riddle in the hopes of becoming a pilot, but that changed.
"It’s OK to change your mind," said Thomas on what advice she would give to other prospective students. "You don’t have to have every single thing figured out throughout your whole journey as a college student. Just follow your heart and do what feels right for you and that’s when you really find your happiness as a student."
Now, she wants to go into the occupational safety industry as either a safety specialist or some form of a safety manager.
"My adopted mom she’s always said to me that it’s not where you come from but where you go," said Thomas.
Thomas officially graduates on May 7 when she says she plans to celebrate with her family visiting in Florida.