BELLEVILLE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – A New Jersey teen is proof that perseverance and determination pay off. She was told she may never walk, but surprised everyone when she took steps across the stage at her high school graduation. As CBS2’s Jessica Layton reported Wednesday, graduation balloons and celebratory signs decorate the proud Rodriguez family’s lawn. But you don’t need to look any further than Tajia Rodriguez’s smile to see what accomplishment looks like. “It was a dream come true,” she told Layton. A New Jersey teen is proof that perseverance and determination pay off. The 19-year-old was still basking in her Belleville High School graduation glow. Born with cerebral palsy, doctors warned early on she may never walk or talk. But last Friday, Rodriguez surprised her peers and parents when, with a little help, she took steps across the stage to receive her diploma. “It felt amazing,” she said. But there were times she wondered whether it would be possible. Some days were so grueling the whole family was in tears. “I’m so grateful that she overcame those obstacles,” said her mother, Marisol Tineo. “We always tell her ‘believe in yourself, never give up,” her father, Victor Rodriguez, added. “If it wasn’t for my family, this day would have never happened,” said Tajia Rodriguez. Now that she’s a high school graduate, she’s looking forward to spending the summer with her family, which includes 18 cousins. After that, she’ll get to work on her next dream: opening a center for children with disabilities. Rodriguez hopes to create a place where every child feels like they belong, where they’ll never question whether they too can achieve these milestone moments. “I never for one second had doubt on what Tajia was capable of,” her mom said. Now, the rest of the world knows, too.