Teenage Parent High School students don the cap and gown

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - It's a big night for high school students who donned the cap and gown.

But graduation was a very special occasion for young mothers who beat the odds to get a diploma.

Teenage Parent High School is a school for young mothers where they can get the support they need to study and grow as parents.

Educators say the school will be expanding to serve a steady stream of teen parents who want to earn their diplomas.

"I wasn't happy with myself. I literally wanted to hide underneath a rock." Student Gabby Angeles was only 15 years old when she found out she was pregnant. "I didn't think that I would have the strength to finish. I didn't know what people would say about me."

Tonight, Gabby, decked out in silver cap and gown, was awarded her high school diploma from Teenage Parent High School.

"As the process goes and you're learning things for yourself, you're also learning things about your baby."

"There are many times where your child gets sick and you're up all night so you're exhausted, and yet these kids still come to school the next day."

Principal, Dr. Anne Dudley says the school fosters skills in academics and parenthood.

"You can say it's wrong for a 17-year-old to have a child, but in many cases some of those girls become better parents than parents who are 27," Dudley said.

Teenage Parent High School enrolls a steady number of about 75 students every year: students like Gabby who juggle motherhood and a blossoming career.

"In my future, I want to go to college. I want to attend Pima. Without support, you're basically nothing."

The principal said the alternative school was spared from budget cuts this year, even as TUSD faces some financial problems. The campus will also be expanding thanks to some bond money.
Angeles said the support from the school was crucial.
"It's really hard, but as long as you put it in your mind that you're doing this for a good reason, and it's all for her. That's what I told myself: this is all for my daughter and I want her to be able to go out and succeed just like I did," Angeles said.

Teenage Parent High School serves students from a variety of districts.
In some cases, students get the kick start they need when their children are young and then go back to their home schools.

There are four graduatess tonight; the larger ceremony was in the winter.

Gabby says she'll go to college to be a pharmacy tech.

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