Like thousands of students across the state, Desiree Segraves is graduating from high school in June 2021. However, Desiree is not your typical soon-to-be-graduate. For one thing, she is just 16 years old; she is also mother to her one-year-old son, Kameron.Desiree always felt ahead of her education, starting to read, write and attend school at a young age.
“I started kindergarten earlier than my peers when I was only 3 or 4 years old,” Desiree said. “My grandparents were a huge help in keeping me focused on my schoolwork all throughout my life.”
When she was 15, Desiree learned the high school she was attending would be closing at the end of the year. She also had just found out that she was pregnant.
“One of my former teachers knew the school was closing and that I was going to be a mom, so she told me about Indy Met,” Desiree said. “I did some research on my own and decided to enroll right away even though I was nervous to start all over at a new school.”
Indianapolis Metropolitan High School is a best-fit school for students experiencing barriers to education, such as teen pregnancy, parenting, homelessness, involvement in foster care, and involvement in criminal justice. Owned and operated by Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana, Indy Met has supports in place to help students — and their families — be successful, including small class sizes, onsite child care and access to a wide range of Goodwill’s services.
“I heard Indy Met was a school for students with barriers, and I definitely had a barrier!” Desiree said. “I actually gave birth my very first day of school.”
On August 19, 2019, Desiree was attending new student orientation at Indy Met when she began to feel pains in her stomach. She dismissed them at first and continued to concentrate on her new environment, but the pain would not subside.
“The teacher started timing how frequently I had the pain, and I felt it every 10 minutes, so she took me to the nurse, who called my dad,” Desiree said. “He raced over to the school and took me to the hospital. It turns out, I was already five centimeters dilated!”
After the birth of her son, Indy Met staff worked with Desiree so she could take classes at home. She returned to campus in February 2020 — right before the state required all schools to shift to e-learning in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Through all of February, I was able to use Indy Met’s free child care, and they were amazing,” Desiree said. “The teachers are nice and let you come visit with your child during the day to check in. It was comforting to know that we were in the same building all day.”
Despite all of the challenges before her, Desiree continued to excel in her schoolwork, earn credits and take an industry-recognized certification. At only 16 years old, she has met the requirements to graduate with a Core 40 high school diploma.
“Honestly I would say that at Indy Met, you will feel inspired, motivated and welcomed. They never treated me like an outsider, like a student with a baby. They were warm and understanding. They worked around my schedule and helped me be successful,” Desiree said.
With plans to attend Ivy Tech in the fall of 2021, Desiree is hoping to become a pediatric nurse or OB-GYN who guides and consults young mothers.
“Lots of people might think school is too hard when you get pregnant, and they want to give up,” Desiree said. “Indy Met understands all that. This is a school that is not going to give up on you ... and they are not going to ever let you give up yourself.”
To learn more about Indianapolis Met High School, visit indianapolismet.org.