Jade Mounts, 18, always had a pretty normal life — supportive parents, a loving brother and sister and a safe home environment. That all changed in March of 2019 when Jade and her family unexpectedly lost their home.
“For months we bounced around from place to place, hotel to hotel, and eventually I began living out of a car,” said Mounts. “We just couldn’t land anywhere stable.”
Moving around so much made it difficult for Jade to find transportation to her high school, and as a result, she missed a lot of class.
“I didn’t see school as a priority over what was happening with my family,” said Mounts. “Then I fell behind because teachers didn’t work with me to extend assignments or get me the help I needed even though I asked.”
Later that year, Jade found stable housing and decided to return to school. She applied to a few options and received a call from Indianapolis Metropolitan High School, Goodwill’s best-fit school for teenage students experiencing barriers to their education, such as pregnancy, parenting, involvement in foster care, homelessness, involvement with the criminal justice system and more.
Indy Met places an emphasis on ensuring students enroll in college or enter into a career that offers a living wage post-graduation by providing small class sizes, on-site child care, transportation assistance and Family Empowerment Coaches, who help students — and their families — remove barriers.
“I love Indy Met so much,” said Mounts. “The support I get from my teachers and my coach is amazing, and they make it easy to get over the fear of attending a new school my senior year.”
Due to pre-existing health conditions, Mounts currently attends class completely online, though Indy Met offers in-person, remote and hybrid learning options for all students.
“Being online, I feel like I have more of a voice,” said Mounts. “I am pretty shy, but Indy Met makes it easy for me to ask my teachers questions privately or comment quickly on assignments.”
With plans to graduate in June 2021, Jade is already working with her Family Empowerment Coach on scholarship and college applications. Indy Met also offers students free dual credit courses and industry-recognized certifications at no cost.
“I am earning a certification next semester and plan to attend IUPUI next fall to study pediatric nursing,” said Mounts. “I love working with kids. I had an experience myself when I was in the hospital, and it’s a really scary time, so kids should always have that one person to get them through it.”
With the past behind her, and the support she needs to be successful, Jade feels confident she is on the right track.
“Life has been a theme park for me this past year,” said Mounts. “No matter how much you want to give up, if you keep going and make changes to your life that you need to, everything in the end will be worth it.”
To learn more about Indianapolis Metropolitan High School, visit indianapolismet.org.