By Andres Garcia, 18, Lamont, CA. South Kern Sol.
As I researched the theme of adults who were high school drop-outs, I came to realize that most of those who I interviewed were Latina women who dropped out because they were/about to be teen moms. Naomi Hernandez, as depicted in the picture above, dropped out of school at the age of 16.
“I dropped out of Nueva High School because I listened to my ex-boyfriend when he told me that I needed to stay home and take care of my child and the one that was on its way. Now I stay at home and take care of six kids,” said Hernandez.
Teen pregnancy practically leaves most teens devastated and looking for a way out. When in school, the teens worry about what other students say or the threat of violence and potential of miscarriage since some of them are gang affiliated.
“One of the main reasons I left school was because I was pregnant and in a gang. Those two things just don’t mix. I have a lot of enemies and they will try and hurt me in anyway possible. Even if it meant hurting my unborn child,” said Leon.
Sometimes pregnancy led to early marriage and having to drop-out to become a stay-at-home mother. Magaly Dixen, 30, married at the age of 17 after having her child two years earlier when she was 15. She has not gone back to school since because her husband wants her to take care of all the children they have until they are fully grown.
“In this economy I know it was not wise to become a stay at home mother, but at that very moment in time, it was the best decision I could have made. My husband needed to finish his schooling and I was there to support him and take care of the kids,” said Dixen.
Dropping out of high school brings a lot of disappointment no matter who you are.
“I was disappointed at first, but then I realized that I was going nowhere in life,” said Hernandez.
“I was disappointed in myself because being a teen mom basically gets you nowhere in life if you have no experience and I definitely had no experience since I didn’t even finish high school. I was planning on going into Law School or even Politics, but I messed up,” said Dixen.
“I wasn’t disappointed at all. Throughout my life my family made me have that mind set that I was never going to succeed in life so I should just give up, so I did,” said Leon.
South Kern Sol is the youth-led publication of South Kern. South Kern Sol staff are youths between the ages of 14 to 24 from the areas of Greenfield, Arvin, Lamont and Weedpatch.