Why Teen Moms Should Finish High School

I’m Pregnant…        Now What!!

 “Oh, my word…I’m pregnant! What am I going to do?” Unplanned pregnancy can be a scary situation, especially if you are a teenager and still in high school. Many think having an abortion is the only way to stay in school. This is a myth! Many teens take care of a baby while finishing high school. It is important for teens to complete their high school education for at least three reasons: more money, greater opportunities, and increased confidence.

Why bother completing high school?

#1. Money, money, money…MONEY!

Teens who do not complete high school level courses are paid significantly less than those who do. According to research done by Jobs for Alabama’s Graduates, teens with a high school diploma earn $260,000 more during a lifetime than their peers who do not complete high school equivalent classes. On average, students who graduate from high school and college earn approximately $36,000/year more than high school dropouts. Finishing high school classes, teens mothers will be able to provide for themselves because they are more likely to earn more money. 

#2. More Opportunities

Completing high school equivalent classes also gives teens more opportunities. Many jobs require, at minimum, a high school diploma. Of course, there are jobs that do not require high school completion, but most of these positions are minimum wage and manual labor jobs. This means you will be working very hard on minimal sleep for about $300/week. A high school diploma gives students more options and opportunities.

#3. More Confidence

According to Forbes magazine, “80% of success is showing up.” However, my favorite quote is from a retired high school algebra teacher. I remember her repetitively saying, “Success leads to success.” She saw this principle on a regular basis. When her students worked hard at an algebra problem and got it right, they felt proud and tended to do better on future assignments. My mom, the algebra teacher, understood the importance of rejoicing in small accomplishments. She knew that the dominos of triumph began with one simple victory, and sometimes that victory is simply showing up.

How can I juggle both, baby and classes?

It can be very overwhelming to think about the inevitable life changes that will happen after giving birth. When feelings of fear and anxiety press heavy, one very natural response is to flee. Flee from change. Flee from responsibility. Flee from difficulty. It is natural to want to avoid the conflict that teen pregnancy may bring. However, a better response is to fight.  Fight for your integrity. Fight for your future. Fight for your success. 

Pregnancy Discrimination Act

I hope you now have committed to completing your high school diploma while caring for your adorable new babe. However, you may be wondering, “What are my options?” You actually have a couple different options. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act makes it illegal for schools to expel students based on pregnancy. Some students may want to continue high school classes at their current school. This is completely doable and legal.

Community College

However, some new moms find that the traditional high school schedule is difficult to manage with a new baby. If that is the case, community colleges are amazing options. Both Lenoir and Wayne Community Colleges offer classes, work programs, and grant funding to help assist young mothers in this amazing pursuit.

  • Adult Basic Education: for students testing below ninth grade
  • High School Equivalency: for those who are at ninth grade level or above
  • NC Works Program: for students who need a job that is flexible to class schedule while also working in field of interest
  • Childcare Grants: for assisting with childcare during work and classes
  • Transportation Grants: for helping teen to get to classes and work

Invest in Your Future…Finish School

As you can see, teen mothers should complete their high school diploma for at least three reasons. More money, greater opportunities, and increased confidence are gained from fighting for your future rather than fleeing in fear. Today is the day to begin the domino cascade of success.

Author: Dana Thacker BSN, RN

Dana Thacker is a freelance health writer and postpartum nurse in North Carolina.  Since graduating from Cedarville University with a BSN in nursing, she has worked in a variety of clinical settings.  Not only is she a RN, but also an educator.  She has home-educated her four children and aspired to inspire patients through practical instruction.  However, educating and motivating women and children to love the Lord and live their best lives is her passion.