An unexpected joy
CHASSELL – For most students, the biggest thing they have to worry about is making sure their homework is done when it’s due. For a few students at Chassell High School, that worry increases dramatically because they are teenagers with children.
For Chassell High School student Nyomie Olson, she became pregnant when she was 17.
“I was in complete shock,” Olson said. “I had no idea what I was going to do.”
When she first found out, the first person Olson told was her best friend, then her boyfriend, Brendan Williamson, and finally her parents.
“(My boyfriend) wasn’t on board right away and then later he came around,” Olson said. “My mom was in shock, but my dad was accepting of it right away.”
For a period of time after Olson found out she was pregnant, she considered putting up her child for adoption, but she never considered having an abortion.
“I did consider adoption because I wasn’t sure if I would have the support and then everyone stepped up and helped,” Olson said.
During her time in school, however, Olson said she felt like an outcast as there were not a lot of people who were supportive of her.
“There was only one teacher that really accepted it,” Olson said. “I talked to her like she was my best friend.”
But Olson’s actual friends didn’t speak much about her pregnancy.
“My friends didn’t really talk about it,” she said. “They wouldn’t ask me how I was feeling.”
However, Olson was able to receive comfort from her boyfriend.
“(He) was very helpful and was someone I could talk to,” Olson said.
Other than that, though, nobody gave Olson any leniency, which further separated her from her peers.
“I felt like it was like they hadnever made a mistake,” she said.
On Dec. 9, 2012, Olson’s daughter Aubrey was born.
“It was awesome holding my child,” she said.
During her last semester at Chassell High School, Olson not only dealt with a newborn baby and her high school responsibilities, but she also took college courses at both Michigan Technological University and Gogebic Community College.
“It was rough,” she said. “My parents took care of her.”
For her boyfriend, Brendan Williamson, having to grow up so fast was a scary thing to think of.
“We had to become more mature and more responsible than the other students around us,” Williamson said in an email. “We can’t do whatever we want on the weekends anymore, but we look forward to weekends because that’s more time that we get with our kids, not more time with friends.”
But despite it at all, Williamson’s daughter has helped him appreciate the little things and to be grateful for what he has.
“You have to think before you do something,” Williamson said. “Think of all the consequences or all the benefits. You can’t just do anything anymore.”
Another student that also experienced having a child while being in school is Ashlynn Monette. Monette gave birth to a son, Carter, who is currently 22-months-old.
But despite having those dual responsibilities, the hardest thing for Monette was having to leave her son for seven to eight hours a day.
“The thought of missing out on any little thing that he does is upsetting,” Monette said in an email.
But Monette knew that she had to graduate in order to provide a better life for herself and her son.
“He’s my motivation,” Monette said. “He’s the one thing that makes me want to be better and better each day.
“Most high school students get to go home, do homework, hang out with friends and anything else they want to do, but we can’t. We have to put our children first then get to the work,” Monette said.
During her pregnancy, Monette said there were staff members at Chassell High School that were great to her both while she was pregnant and after she had her child.
“They would make me feel welcomed and help me through my rough days,” Monette said. “Some would let me have lunch with them and talk about everything. … It just really helped a lot knowing there were some people that cared.”
Editor’s note:?Ashlynn Monette contributed to the writing of this article.