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  • Grads Against the Odds: 'A greater future'

    Crater High grad, who gave birth nine weeks ago, looks forward to a new life
  • When 18-year-old Amanda Lown found out she was pregnant a year ago, she thought her education might fall short of graduation.
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    • About this series
      This is the second story in a four-part series profiling students who overcame significant challenges to graduate from high school.

      Sunday:
      Cara Graca overcame a methamphetamine addiction...
      » Read more
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      About this series
      This is the second story in a four-part series profiling students who overcame significant challenges to graduate from high school.

      Sunday:

      Cara Graca overcame a methamphetamine addiction to graduate from North Medford High School and to encourage other students to stay off drugs.

      Today:

      Amanda Lown juggled pregnancy, motherhood and schoolwork to reach graduation this year from Crater High School.

      Tuesday:

      Robert Nguyen weathered homelessness and his mother's death to graduate on time this year from Rogue River High School.

      Wednesday:

      Gideon Linsday, born with a learning disability caused by exposure to drugs in the womb, found his power in helping others. He graduates this year as Ashland High School's co-student-body president.
  • When 18-year-old Amanda Lown found out she was pregnant a year ago, she thought her education might fall short of graduation.
    With a move from Klamath Falls to Crater High School and some persistence, Lown was able to graduate this year on time and have her son, Jayce, now 9 weeks old.
    "It's been an amazing experience because Jayce has pushed me to go further toward my goals," Lown said. "I want him to have a good life, so I need to graduate and get a good job."
    Lown's inattention to school began her freshman year when, she said, she didn't do her homework. By her sophomore year, she was skipping classes.
    "When I found out I was pregnant I was very scared," Lown said. "I was already falling behind in school, so I felt this wasn't going to help me graduate."
    The knowledge she was pregnant shook her to attention. She said she realized how important her education would be in providing a good life for her baby.
    She and her boyfriend, Jake Powers, decided to move to Central Point from Klamath Falls at the end of August to attend Crater High School.
    Unlike her school in Klamath Falls, Crater offers a credit-retrieval program that allowed her to graduate on time. Crater also provided in-home tutoring for about six weeks after she had Jayce.
    "At home, every chance I had, I did homework," she said.
    People from Crater flooded the baby with gifts. Her parents also pitched in to help the young couple and their baby.
    "I'm so grateful for all the support," she said.
    Still, taking care of a baby and going to school hasn't been easy.
    Powers' parents, with whom the young couple lives, take turns watching the baby while Lown attends classes. Jake works part time at an automotive shop.
    Lown attends classes until early evening to make up classes she failed or missed in prior years from skipping school and neglecting homework, including global studies, U.S. history, English, physical education and an elective.
    "Most of the seniors got to have fun this year," she said. "Most of the time, for me, it's all about the baby and worrying about school and money."
    She had to forgo the equestrian team, an activity she enjoys.
    "It hurt me because I love riding horses," she said. "It's my passion. The baby has taken me away from things I love, but he's pushing me toward a greater future."
    She won't finish in time to walk in the graduation ceremony, but she will have completed all her credits to earn her diploma by the end of June.
    The family will return to Klamath Falls this month and rent a house.
    In the fall, she plans to attend Klamath Community College for training to become a firefighter and emergency medical technician, following in her father's footsteps. Jake hopes to train to become a police officer.
    "When you have a baby, you need to think about them first but also your goals and what you want to do," Lown said. "That's what's making me happy now. I haven't given up. It makes me feel good that I made it through a hard time."
    Reach reporter Paris Achen at 541-776-4459 or pachen@mailtribune.com.
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