Pregnancy drove early graduation

A teenage mother-to-be put her high school graduation on a fast track to have her classwork completed before the baby was born.

Ashley Morrison, 17, transferred from Whiteland Community High School to Clark Pleasant Academy in January to get her high school diploma finished as soon as possible, she said. Morrison would have graduated in May, but she didn’t want to wait that long, she said.

But earlier this year, Morrison was given another reason to earn her diploma quick: In February, she found out she was pregnant.

To make sure Morrison earned her diploma before her daughter was born, she spent 8 hours a day at the academy, instead of the typical 3 hours that most students do each day, she said.

“I got all of my classes done in August because when you are pregnant, you do not want to come to school,” Morrison said.

Her speed put her among the quickest of all students who have earned a diploma through the alternative school, academy student services coordinator Lisa Morris said.

When she first transferred to the academy, Morrison was taking her time to get her online coursework done, Morris said. But over the summer, she matured and came into the school year prepared to earn her diploma, she said.

“We were really impressed with how she kept her goal in mind, and lived her goal every day,” Morris said.

Morrison’s daughter was born Oct. 30. If Morrison had not come to Clark Pleasant Academy, she doesn’t think she would have earned her diploma, she said.

“I probably would not have finished,” Morrison said. “I understand why people drop out now, because I could not leave her all day.”

The Morrison File

Name: Ashley Morrison

Age: 17

School: Clark Pleasant Academy

Residence: Edinburgh

Future plans: Go to college to study dentistry