Seventeen young mothers in Kentucky achieved a major milestone on Thursday.
The teen mothers graduated from high school in an emotional ceremony at the Georgia Chaffee TAPP School.
“I feel nervous but I’m also ready to get started with my life, with my adult life,” said graduate Ronyale Wilson. “I’m ready to see what life has for me.”
Despite the odds being stacked against them as teen moms, the group completed their high school journey.
“It’s been challenging. Especially waking up at five in the morning,” Wilson said. “I had to get myself ready and my baby and get on the bus by a certain time. But I made it work.”
The teens said their support systems, the TAPP program and each other helped along the way while they put in the work.
“I had to do extra credit. I had to do 10 extra classes in a semester so I could graduate early,” said graduate Claudia Aguilar Venegas.
TAPP is an alternative school serving pregnant and parenting students from surrounding middle and high schools.
The program includes child care plus medical and family services specifically designed to prevent teen pregnancy dropouts.
And it was an emotional milestone to complete for the young mothers.
“It was happy tears. Not for me, but for my kids. They couldn’t be here, sadly, but I did this for them,” Venegas said.
The young moms said the school’s resources and the teachers’ support were crucial to their success.
“It’s just emotional because we’re done, we did it. We got through it with babies,” Wilson said. “People doubted us, but we did it and got through all the stuff.”
The group urged other girls in their situation to keep going and continue to chase their dreams.