17 young mothers graduate from the Georgia Chaffee TAPP School

Seventeen young mothers graduated high school in Louisville, Kentucky. (Source: WAVE)
Published: May. 18, 2023 at 3:39 PM EDT|Updated: May. 18, 2023 at 3:46 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - 17 young mothers at the Georgia Chaffee TAPP School in Louisville achieved a major milestone Thursday.

Despite the odds being stacked against them as teen mothers, this group of JCPS students graduated from high school in an emotional ceremony.

Teen moms get the stigma of ruining their lives once they get pregnant but thanks to their support systems, the TAPP program and each other, these young ladies were able to beat the odds achieve more than even they expected.

Graduating high school is a major feat and deserves celebration.

However, for the 17 mothers graduating from the Georgia Chaffee TAPP School Thursday, this moment is even more significant.

“I feel nervous but I’m also ready to get started with my life, with my adult life,” graduate Ronyale Wilson. “I’m ready to see what life has for me.”

TAPP is an alternative choice school that caters to students like Wilson whose daughter just turned one.

The program includes childcare plus medical and family services specifically designed to prevent teen pregnancy dropouts.

The challenges, however, were still daunting.

“It’s been very challenging. Especially waking up at 5′oclock in the morning every morning,” Wilson said. “I have to get myself ready and then my baby and get on the bus by a certain time but I made it work.”

“I had to do extra credit even through the summer. I had to do 10 extra classes in a semester so I can graduate early,” graduate Claudia Aguilar Venegas said. “It was just hard for me going through school and then home.”

Claudia graduated Thursday at just 16 years-old and joined the program when she became a mother at 14 years-old.

She shared her story with the room and left not a dry eye in sight.

It was an emotional milestone Claudia says she wouldn’t have reached without her kids.

“It was happy tears. Not for me, but for my kids because they couldn’t be here sadly but just know that I did this for them,” Aguilar Venegas said.

The young moms say the school’s resources and the teacher support was crucial to their success.

The tears of joy at graduation were a testament of the support they needed to beat the odds on their way to success.

“It’s just emotional because we’re done, we did it. We got through it with babies,” Wilson said. “When people doubted us, when people talked about teen moms and what we grow through and like you know we did it, through all the stuff.”

Both Claudia and Ronyale said they plan to attend college.

For girls in their situation, they urge them to keep going and continue to chase their dreams. Just because you’re helping a life begin, doesn’t mean yours has to end.