Valedictorian Overcomes Homelessness, Pregnancy, Despite Teacher Telling Her She Was A 'Waste Of Time'

Heather Tooley

A high school valedictorian overcame homelessness and pregnancy to show how determined how she truly is. Trameka Pope of Wendell Phillips Academy High School in Chicago rose above all obstacles and began freshman classes just days after giving birth to her daughter, WFLD-TVreported.

Pope is a cheerleader and National Honor Society member who currently works at a local grocery store, and now takes classes at Kennedy-King College. She plans to attend Western Illinois University in Macomb on a scholarship next fall.

The valedictorian said that one of her teachers once told her she was a "waste of time and she wouldn't amount to anything." That insult, along with coming from an area suffering from a 25-percent unemployment rate, only added fuel to this young woman's fire.

Pope pushed herself hard to get where she's at now.

Most figures show that only 40-percent of teen mothers graduate high school -- and about a third of girls dropping out of school cite pregnancy or parenthood as the main culprits for it, according to a 2012 report by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and America's Promise Alliance.

Trameka Pope was assisted by school counselors with the Chicago School District and aides at SGA Youth and Family Services, an organization preparing teens to be parents. Pope's social worker is Dawn Jackson, who says the teen has "sweet heart and kind spirit." She's also described as a people person whom everyone loves.

Jackson explains that those with a will to be the best they can, can do it no matter the hindrances in front of them.

"No matter what background you come from, it doesn't matter if you have a child as a teen, no matter what people say about you, you still can, you can make it, and you can become something."
"I always said that I wanted to make change and I wanted to be in the history books, and I started with myself."

[Photo Credit: Fox 32 News screenshot]