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Monika H. - Success Story
I graduated from T.L. Hanna High School (through the Gateway to College program, as it was known then) on December 16, 2010. It's hard for me to imagine now that I had started the program only two years before, with just my 9th grade credits. When I dropped out of high school, I'd been in foster care for several years and was pregnant with my daughter, Asy'Anna. They wanted to send me to a home in Myrtle Beach, but I wanted to keep my daughter so I ran away. I had stopped by the Pregnancy Crisis Clinic in Anderson and noticed a Gateway to College brochure. I thought the program sounded perfect for me.
During the time I was in Gateway, I married my longtime boyfriend and gave birth to my son, Jeremiah. It wasn't easy being in school, working, and being a mom to two young children. There were plenty of days I'd study on the CAT bus or whenever and wherever I could find time. I made straight A's my first semester.
I am who I am today because of what I went through. I'm proud of my accomplishments - and grateful for everything Gateway did for me. I'm finishing my associate degree now with plans to transfer for a bachelor's degree in social services. Eventually I want to establish my own nonprofit agency to work with kids in foster care. I know how to reach others who are going through the same things I went through. I identify with teens in crisis and foster care because I have felt every emotion they have. If I can be successful, anybody can. I want to put my knowledge and understanding to work so I can help others. (Pictured with Monika is Ms. Betty Bagley, Superintendent of Anderson School District Five.)