Student Stories

TENNI\'S STORY

TENNI’S STORY

Tenni Nicholson was only two when her dad died, but her mom never stopped reminding Tenni how much he loved her. Growing up, she and her sister were inseparable from their mom. The unthinkable happened when Tenni was seven. Her mom died from a diabetic stroke, which both she and her sister witnessed. That moment was etched in her mind forever and a feeling of relentless melancholy surrounded her most of her life.

After their mom’s tragic death, Tenni and her sister went to live with their grandparents who were extremely overprotective. The girls weren’t even allowed out of the backyard. In typical teenage fashion, they started lying to get out of the house. Thus began Tenni’s quiet rebellion. As for school, Tenni was in the gifted and talented program starting in Pre-K. In search of a challenge, she started teaching herself Japanese in fifth grade. Tenni reflected, “Mom always told us how important education was. She finished part of college and my dad was a salutatorian at Southern Methodist University. I guess my love of learning came from both of them.”

Tenni continued to excel in high school and was accepted to the magnet school for oral language. With her beautiful dark hair and a captivating smile, it’s no surprise she had a boyfriend. Unfortunately, no one had talked to her about sex, which led to the inevitable. She became pregnant her freshman year of high school.

When Tenni discovered she was pregnant, she was in all Pre AP classes. With doctors’ appointments and morning sickness, the work was too much. She began getting Bs, which were unacceptable for Tenni. When she had the baby things changed dramatically. She wanted to be with her daughter constantly.

Tenni was disappointed that the magnet school wouldn’t let her re-enroll. Luckily, she heard that Dallas Can Academy could help her graduate quickly. She enrolled immediately and got a place of her own. She was excited and relieved that her baby could go to the Early Childhood Development Center on campus. That meant she could keep an eye on her daughter while attending school. Tenni enjoyed getting back to an environment where teachers challenged and encouraged her. When she wanted more work, they gave it to her. When she needed someone to talk to, they were there for her.

Tenni could have been sidetracked many times in her life, but she persevered. She said, “Even a difficult situation can be motivating.” Tenni has faced more difficult situations than anyone should have to endure, but each of them challenged her to prove herself. She will go on to college and succeed at whatever she does.

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