Graduation Season 2019

School is over, and the high school graduating Class of 2019 is ready for their next phase of life. Congrats to all the youth on achieving this accomplishment! However, it’s important to highlight a special group of graduates worldwide that fought against statistics to achieve this significant milestone, foster kids. According to the, high school students in foster care have the highest dropout rates and the lowest graduation rates of all comparison student groups. This is because children in foster care are far more likely to change schools during the school year, to be in special education classes, and to fail to receive passing grades than their general population counterparts. And when you think that the odds can’t get any worst, imagine being a teen parent!

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, thirty percent of all teenage girls who drop out of school cite pregnancy and parenthood as key reasons. Rates among Hispanic (36 percent) and African American (38 percent) girls are higher. Educational achievement affects the lifetime income of teen mothers: two-thirds of families started by teens are disadvantaged, and nearly one in four will depend on welfare within three years of a child’s birth. Many children will not escape this cycle of poverty. Only about two-thirds of children born to teen mothers earn a high school diploma, compared to 81 percent of their peers with older parents.

“That will not be my story, I will graduate!” said a teen mom resident.

This year, I’ve had the pleasure of mentoring three pregnant/parenting teen moms in foster care! Two of three mothers (one is still pregnant) all had their babies while in high school and still were able to earn their diplomas despite the haters, doubters, and staggering statistics!! Yes, they beat the odds and proved all the naysayers wrong! Special shout out to the graduating teen moms of Born for Nia Maternity Home, San Bernardino, CA.

ConGRADulations to these young mothers and the entire Class of 2019… you all have made it to the finish line. This is just the beginning to a long life ahead, so design your path and stick to it. You all completed this milestone, but as the late great, Nipsey Hussle said, “The Marathon Continues”!

Written by Symone A. Maddox