Archive for Thursday, August 24, 2000

Dealing with teen pregnancy

August 24, 2000

Eight percent of teen-age girls in the United States got pregnant last year.

Eudora's small-town status doesn't make it immune from teen pregnancy. In fact, numbers show just the opposite: Eudora is well above the national average.

Four members of Eudora High's senior class of 2000 became pregnant.

With teen pregnancy on the rise in Eudora and throughout the United States, schools must comply with the pregnancy and motherhood.

EHS offers the mothers a "maternity leave" where they can be home-schooled and stay home to take care of their new children.

Other schools offer different in-school programs for the mothers. These programs not only give the mothers a chance to complete their normal English and math courses, but also teach parenting skills, job skills and life skills.

Amy Hunt, who graduated from Eudora High last May, had her daughter, Alyssa Leanne Hunt, during her junior year.

"It was embarrassing and awkward," Hunt said of being pregnant in school. "The chairs are uncomfortable. People treat you differently, some suddenly want to be your friend."

Dana Sorenson, one of Hunt's classmates, delivered Sheldon David Thomas Wilkerson during her senior year. She also knows that pregnancy while in school is awkward.

"Everybody looked at me funny, like I was a slut or something," Sorenson said.

While being pregnant in school was hard, school after the birth was even harder.

Hunt wanted to stay home with her daughter. Home schooling was even more difficult for the teen-ager because she was with Alyssa and just wanted to play with the newborn.

Babies definitely change the lives around them.

"Having Alyssa made me grow up and be more responsible," Hunt said. "I stopped partying and hanging out with my friends as much. I plan to go to college so that I can get a good job and support Alyssa."

Babies also come with a lot of responsibility.

This is a lesson Peggy Claggett tries to teach in her parenting class at EHS.

It is hard raising a baby, especially when you're only a teen-ager yourself. These teen-age mothers have learned this lesson the hard way.

"Use protection, but if you do get pregnant, don't try to hide it," advises Hunt.

Sorenson gives this advice: "Go see the prices of diapers and formula before you do anything."

These young women have been there; now they're giving out advice to save other young women from taking on the responsibility too soon.

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