Alicia was on track to graduate high school when she found out she was pregnant during her senior year. Homeless and scared with nowhere to turn, Alicia dropped out of school. She bounced around from friends’ houses to living on the streets to shelters. Alicia had a strong desire to finish high school, but didn’t know how or where.
While waiting for the bus, Alicia saw an advertisement for Pathways Academy Charter School. She took down the phone number but didn’t have the courage to call it. Often, Alicia would stare at the phone number scribbled on a piece of scrap paper, but she would never reach for her phone to call it. One day, her friend convinced her to call.
“What do you have to lose?” her friend said. “You can’t tell your child to go to school when you didn’t even graduate.”
Alicia picked up the phone and called immediately. She spoke with Ms. Pearson, a recruitment specialist at Pathways Academy. Ms. Pearson told her that she would be able to attend classes while pregnant, and after the baby was born, she could enroll her daughter in daycare.
Wanting to make a positive change in her life, Alicia began attending classes in October 2014. She needed five classes to graduate: English, math, chemistry, Spanish and health. She was able to work at her own pace while attending school at Pathways Academy. Alicia took advantage of the transportation assistance provided to her and her classmates.
“Everyone at Pathways Academy is caring and supportive,” says Alicia. “It’s our own little Pathways home.”
Six months later, Alicia welcomed a beautiful baby girl named Serenity. While she was on maternity leave, Alicia was given a laptop with Wi-Fi so that she could keep up on her studies.
She had one class left to graduate and returned to school as a single mom. Alicia received the support she needed through her teachers and counselors. She enrolled in the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries’ Teen Mom program which helped her find housing for her and her daughter. Alicia also received clothing and baby supplies such as diapers and milk.
Alicia will graduate with her high school diploma on Friday, Aug. 28, 2015, less than one year after enrolling at Pathways Academy. She plans on applying to Oakland University to study early childhood education with the goal of becoming a daycare or pre-school teacher.
She offers this advice to others in similar situations: “Don’t give up on your education. You may feel like your life is bad now, but it’s not always going to be. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.”