meet melissa, star pupil and young mother

meet melissa, star pupil and young mother

West Adams is home to 1,500 high school students – young, vibrant kids who study subjects from calculus to American history, practice cheer after school, and play football on the giant field just north of the 10 Highway.

One of these students is Melissa, a senior. She has distinguished herself over her three-plus years at West Adams as a 4.0 student and college ambassador. She is also mother to 1.5-year-old twin girls.

A teenager, Melissa is juggling academics and motherhood – with unswerving grace.

What does it take to be Melissa?

A day in her life:

5am: Melissa wakes up and feeds her daughters, Juliet and Nicole.

6:20am: She and her daughters leave their house for Melissa’s mother’s house.

7am: Melissa gets ready for school.

8:15am: Over the course of the school day, Melissa takes multiple courses, including her favorites, AP Calculus and AP Microeconomics.

3pm: Melissa heads to the college center to work on her personal statement and prepare for college applications.

5pm: Melissa picks up her daughters from her mom’s house and heads home to make dinner.

9pm: Melissa puts her daughters to bed and turns to her homework.

11:30pm/12am: Melissa finally falls asleep.

What motivates Melissa to push herself through this long, demanding day, to be mom to twins, go to school, and keep a perfect grade point average?

1.) Her love of learning. When asked about her favorite subject, AP Calculus, Melissa says she finds it “challenging – but I always find a way to solve a problem – even if it takes all night and I have to find 5 videos.”

2.) The teachers who challenge her. Her favorite teacher at West Adams has been Ms. Haserjian, her pre-calculus teacher, because she would let her students “struggle.” She didn’t swoop in and give them the challenging problems’ answers. And she was always available – before school, during lunch, and after school – with her office door open. “She was very dedicated to her students.”

3.) The support network that the LA Promise Fund provides her. “When I need help and I ask for it, they offer it. If I want to arrange schedules, for my due date, or get assignments early, they’re very supportive.” Melissa told Miss. Vo, one of the college counselors, that she was pregnant before telling anyone else, and she turns to Alejandro, our associate director of programs, for guidance on programs that can further refine her leadership skills.

4.) Her daughters. “I want to give them a better future… I know if I have a career, I will earn more money, I will give them a stable life. They won’t have to struggle.”

Melissa is one of the amazing individuals who make up the LA Promise Fund community, who is leveraging her own tenacity and grit, in conjunction with the resources LAPF offers, to catapult herself (and her children) to a better life. These are the people who make our work worthwhile!