Family first: High-school diploma

This week, a Whiteland Community High School student will become the first in her family to leave high school with a diploma.

For Jasmin Perez, 18, neither of her parents nor her sister have graduated high school.

When she told her parents that she could graduate early, her father was excited, but her mother wanted to see the diploma in hand before she celebrated.

“My mom didn’t believe me,” Perez said. “Because I’m the first to graduate in the family, so she’s like, ‘Where’s the proof? Where’s the diploma?'”

This week, Perez will be join the rest of her graduating class from Clark-Pleasant Academy who received their diplomas this semester. Now, she wants to attend college to become a lawyer, she said.

Perez had heard that the academy would allow her to work at her own pace, so she asked to be transferred to the school. The school allows 60 students per year in the program, but no spots were open for Perez when she wanted to transfer. For more than a year, Perez waited to join the academy.

Since she transferred to the school, Perez has consistently checked to see where she stood in her classes, academic student services director Lisa Morris said. Within three months, Perez was able to finish her last 11 classes to graduate, she said.

In addition to working and babysitting her niece, Perez took online tests and studied at night to make sure she could finish her classes by this month.

The Perez File

Name: Jasmin Perez

Age: 18

School: Clark-Pleasant Academy

Residence: Whiteland

Future plans: Attend college to study law