She also found lots of support from caring staff. Now she is just a few semesters from getting her high school diploma and contemplating a future filled with options.
"I want to do everything," Drummond said.
Soon, more young people will get their chance to dream.
College and county officials have decided to take the principles of Gateway, a national program funded in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that since 2004 has been replicated at 33 community colleges in 20 states, including Community College of Philadelphia, and start a program that will be open to applicants from all the county's municipalities.
The new program, Transition to College, will be based at the Camden County College Blackwood campus and funded not by Gateway but by a portion of the per capita state education aid allocated to the students' home districts.
The officials said they were inspired by the results the Camden Gateway program has had in its first year with students. The program, launched with a three-year, $325,000 grant from the national program, expects to be self-sufficient after this coming school year.
Of 85 students who joined the Camden Gateway program at varying academic levels, 66 were still with it by the end of the spring semester, according to program staff. Three have graduated and six more are expected to by the start of the fall semester.
Of the 19 who left the program, most did so because they were having a baby or for other family reasons, according to acting program director Irvin Sweeney.
That success may strike some as modest. Program proponents, however, say these young people come with often severe challenges.
"What you're talking about is a group of students who are pretty much lost," said Fred Cappello, dean of the college's Division of School and Community Academic Programs. "We're giving the toughest population of students a chance to graduate, to become dues-paying citizens."
County Freeholder Ian Leonard, a champion of the Transition program, said saving some students, even if the numbers are not huge, is worth the effort.
"If you have two people who have no hope and one finds their way, that's a success," Leonard said. "And you don't give up on the other one."
Academic deficits are just part of what the students in the Camden program have faced. Many have children of their own. Some have had to work to help support their families.
And there has been much more.
During the spring semester, one student lost two close friends to homicide in two hours. Another lost family members and friends to violent deaths, and yet another was pregnant, her baby's father was incarcerated, one of her sisters was murdered, and another sister committed suicide, said Sweeney, who also counsels and helps support the students' efforts.
That kind of intensive support is a key feature of Gateway. Sweeney said it is remarkable how many of the young people had found the strength to persevere.
"To us, it's a motivation and inspiring," he said.
Growing up in a hardscrabble community like Camden can mean struggle. Particularly in the city's general high schools, the dropout problem is severe. At Woodrow Wilson, the graduation rate is only 55 percent. At Camden High, it's a grim 45 percent.
But neither the national Gateway program nor Camden County's Transition to College is limited to low-income students.
"It's for everybody," said Paul Spaventa, a former Gloucester City school superintendent who has been volunteering with Transition to College and will become its director next month.
A student does not have to be low-income to fall behind in school, become pregnant, or get bogged down in family problems, bullying, or other high school drama, Spaventa said.
Transition to College will start small - about 20 to 25 students, Spaventa said. The program will look for students who have drive and meet certain academic standards; ideally they will be able to read at least at an eighth-grade level.
Program leaders are getting memorandums of agreement from school districts to work together to identify students. So far, Sterling, Winslow, and the Camden County Technical Schools have signed up, Spaventa said, expecting more.
Some students are seeking out the program on their own, even before their districts sign up.
Jireh Burnett, 17, of Lindenwold, has been hoping for a call back since she attended a Transition to College information session a little over a week ago.
When she was younger, she said, she went to a Christian school and found public school a hard transition. Then she got pregnant and went to a program for young mothers in North Jersey. It was a disappointment. She came back to her grandmother's home and went to Lindenwold High School shortly before her son was born in late 2011 and again a few months later after, but she was academically way behind.
She says Transition to College could mean a brighter future for her and for her baby boy.
"I'm really excited. I really went to get my high school diploma," Burnett said. "I really want to be successful in life and prove to my son everything is going to be OK."
Coming up to a year since he entered the Camden Gateway program, things are much brighter for James Ingalls, 18, a gentle giant of a young man from Camden.
His academic career included being held back more than once. By his second year as a high school freshman, he was older than most of the other students around him. He said he knows he could have worked harder. But still, "it made me feel bad."
When he got to Gateway, he liked that he was with students his age. He appreciated the support of Sweeney and Genevieve Griffith, a lead counselor.
He is planning to continue college. He is thinking about a degree in forensic science. To any students like him thinking about a way-back program, he would say:
"Just do it. Go with the program. It's a good program. Do the work."
An information session on Transition to College will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Camden County College's Blackwood campus in the Connector Building at College Drive and Peter Cheeseman Road.
Contact Rita Giordano at 856-779-3841 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @ritagiordano.