“From the moment I walked into the room and saw Ms. Deb, the PEARLS program leader, I felt a lot better. I didn’t feel she was judging me. The minute my favorite teachers found out that I was pregnant or that I had a child, their point of view completely changed. A lot of people thought I was just a failure. A lot of people said I wasn’t going to graduate from high school. With PEARLS, dropping out of school wasn’t an option for me. Ms. Deb said ‘no, you’re going to be in school. ’And so I said, ‘I can do it’ because I know I have the support system here.”
“PEARLS made me stronger. It made me more mature. It made me more accepting of others and myself. It taught me that it’s okay to be able to stand up on my own two feet—to be the independent person that I’ve always tried to be, but still accept help.”
“And so, I can say I am a product of PEARLS.”
Suzanne will graduate from the University of Maryland in May 2013 and then go to law school. She is also the mother of a happy, healthy, smart daughter.