CAT HAS GRADUATED!!!
by Sarah Martin, LMSW, MHS Mentors Care Coordinator – Jan. 2020
It has been a long, hard process, but she has done it and her mentor and I couldn’t be more proud of her!!
Her journey started as a freshman. Her home life was a mess. She had no support at home and just had a lot of chaos around her and chaos that she participated in as well. She dropped out midway thru her freshmen year at MHS. She came back for her sophomore year of school, but he found out she was pregnant a few months later and was then busy with all that a young pregnant mom is consumed with. Trying to survive.
So, she dropped out again. I would see her occasionally in the library, and her baby’s dad’s sister was in the mentoring program so she would keep me up to date on what Cat had going on and how she and the baby were doing. It was a lot, but she was a good momma to her little girl. She even brought the baby in to see me a couple of times. Adorable! One of the times she came in we had a serious conversation about getting back in school. LEAP [a fully accredited, self-application alternative learning program offered in some high schools] was brand new and was perfect for her. But the she had to commit and enroll in MHS first before she could transfer down to LEAP.
When her little girl was 1 ½ she re enrolled and I got her matched up with a sweet mentor who would be encouraging and supportive and honest and tough when Cat needed it. It was a great match right from the start. Those months here at MHS were so hard. Getting daycare issues worked out and just the long school day schedule was grueling. Cat was on her own and having to work and support herself with the help of her (then) boyfriend. There were always distractions and problems and traumas that would push her focus away from school. It was touch and go almost day to day; in my office crying wanting to quit. Her mentor was incredible, always there with wisdom and support. Her biggest cheerleader. We trouble-shot all kinds of road blocks: from getting kicked out of her living situation, to getting rides for her and the baby to school and day care, to food, to getting her driver’s license to lice treatment for her little girl etc. It was time for her to go to LEAP to ease the time constraints on her day.
Even down at LEAP, while she worked incredibly hard while she was there, it was often a struggle to get there. At one point she was breaking up with her then boyfriend and actually reconnecting with her baby’s dad. A good thing!! But there were plenty of issues there as well. Living transitions, daycare and money issues. Rides to school. Her mentor there thru all of it working with her and encouraging her. It definitely would have been easier for Cat to just quit. But she was so determined at this point. She had come so far.
Cat was one of the speakers at the LEAP Graduation ceremony on December 13th. She nailed it. Not a dry eye in the place. Her dedication to her daughter and wanting to show her now 4-year-old kiddo the importance of education and fighting thru hard times evident. Cat finished 4 years of high school in 2 ½ years. She is one amazing woman and we are so lucky to have had the chance to get to know her and walk thru this part of her path with her. So much more lies ahead for her and her sweet little family!!