Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Beating the Odds

How curious.

If asked to name three young women from Max Hayes who, based on strength of character, I believed would grew up to be wonderful, without hesitation, I would name Tracy, Damaris, and Liz.
Each girl struggled with with personal and family crisis that would defeat most people. All three beat the statistical odds for young people in Cleveland, and graduated from high school. Today, each one is in college.
And finally, although none of the three knew each other well, since they graduated in different years, all of them came to see me yesterday.

Tracy walked through my classroom door first, carrying the laminated visitors pass picked up from the clerk in the office. She was at school to check up on her younger brother, who is a ninth grader at the school. Her eyes still sparkled as if looking for mischief, and her ready laugh filled the room immediately. Tracy is finishing her bachelors degree at Cleveland State, and preparing to enter law school next year.

Liz pulled into the school parking lot just as I was leaving the building. I never saw her , so she called my cell phone. "Guess what! I'm back in college and I don't have any babies!"
Not all of my preaching falls on deaf ears.
"Ladies, it doesn't takes brains to have a baby. The smart girls don't."
Two-thirds of the girls in Liz's class dropped out of Max Hayes in their junior year because they were pregnant.
Liz got married the day after she graduated from high school, and a couple of weeks before her new husband left for bootcamp. She is living with her in-laws and going to school at Tri-C.
Her parents moved back to Puerto Rico with her little brothers during her senior year. Her early marriage was a means to stay in the US and further her education.

Damaris stood at my door and for a moment I was speechless. Always a beautiful girl, there was something different about the woman who smiled at me there. She was radiant, confident, stunning. I 'd been thinking of her often lately. She is on of the most amazing people I've ever met, and I would like to include her story in the book I am writing, but I wanted to get her permission first. Her story is terrifying and tragic, hopeful and inspiring. The stuff of Hollywood horror, her life is a tale of murder and rape, abuse and courage. When I asked if I could write about her, she said "Of course. If my story can be of help to anybody else, please use it."
I am so lucky that Damaris came up to visit. She will be leaving next week to attend college for two years in Puerto Rico, after having worked for 2 years with the Ohio Department of Transportation.

I will tell you more about Damaris later this week when I get some more time to write. I promise.

Now, back to my original thought...What a curious day.
There were other odd coincidences too. ESPish things and groups of three.
Very, very metaphysical. I may have to investigate.


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