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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Meg Looks for a School

Meg stopped by tonight to talk about getting back in school, so this is a good opportunity to tell the story I glossed over in the Mother's Day Post.

Like Dawn, Meg is a bright young woman whose teen rebellion hit some pretty low lows. Unfortunately, Meg's gone two places Dawn hasn't (at least not yet, and I hope never): all the way out of school--she was dropped from Richards--and to Hartgrove Hospital. I still don't know what was up with that whole Hartgrove experience.

While we were making cake, Meg started talking openly, too openly for in front of the younger girls, about how she was supposed to go someplace that Monday morning but she didn't make it because she was too hung over.

"Let's talk more about this later, just you and me," I said.

Later, when the cake was in the oven and the younger girls were looking at Martha Stewart cake designs or playing outside, we talked for real.

"Meg, those girls look up to you," I said. "Think about what you are saying in front of them."

She got it. Her eyes widened and she hung her head.

Then we talked for real about what is going on with her and her family. She quit school to work more hours to help her mom support the family, but she hasn't gotten the extra hours she was expecting. Plus, she's feeling bad about not finishing high school. She has been thinking about doing Lincoln's Challenge, a five-month program in Rantoul sponsored by the National Guard. She was thinking that getting out of the neighborhood and strict discipline would be good for her. She also thought going into the Guard afterwards in exchange for money for college sounded good.

"Will you have to serve in Iraq if you do that?" I asked her. She didn't know. I urged her to find out. She said one of her former teachers at Chavez had expressed the same concern.

This afternoon I saw her on the street and she asked when we could talk. I had errands to run so I promised to call when I got home. About an hour ago we caught up. She has decided she wants to stay here because she wants to be there for her mom through some family problems going on now. She has said she doesn't want to go to Second Chance "because it's full of gangbangers, right?"

"So was Richards, wasn't it?" I asked.

"Well, yeah, that's true."

However, if she doesn't feel comfortable going to Second Chance because the gang situation is too close to home, I can understand that. So I suggested two alternative high schools in Little Village: Rudy Lozano Leadership Academy and Latino Youth. She took the numbers. She says she is going to Richards tomorrow to find out how long she has been dropped and how many credits she has. She thinks she has 16.5. As far as I know, it's still 24 credits to graduate, so if that's right, she's not too far behind.

We'll see what happens. I hope she goes back.


Anonymous said...

M - Please tell Meg that she is more than welcome to come by Second Chance during the school day to visit. I will walk her through the building so she can see what it's like. With 16.5 credits, she can finish in 1 year at Second Chance or even the new campus, if she's interested.


Maritza said...

Thanks, Brigitte. Will do.

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