Anna-Lisa Altland says she could feel a desire to be a nurse in her bones ever since she was a little girl. "I have always wanted to be a nurse," she said. "It has always been a dream of mine. I think back when I was five years old I would practice on animals and stuffed animas that I had, and also on dolls."

A year ago she began practicing, training and taking classes at the Tennessee College of Applied Technology in Elizabethton. It's something she wouldn't have ever dreamed of as little as a year or two ago, especially considering all she had to overcome. "I have definitely overcome many obstacles," Altland said. "Including physical, sexual and mental abuse. I overcame financial crises, one after the other. My relationship with my parents it is a very difficult relationship, but we are healing and setting an example that family can overcome anything."

All those life pressures can take a toll, but now she is overcoming. She's concentrating on taking blood pressure and finals, with a sense of pride.

On Monday she'll be pinned and graduate as a licensed practical nurse, her dream come true. "To know that I have come from absolutely nothing to be able to take care of people, to save lives, to change the world one person at a time," Altland said. "It's amazing."

Altland will graduate with 43 fellow classmates on Monday, April 21 at the Bristol Regional Medical Center.

Tennessee Congressman Phil Roe will be the keynote speaker.