TRAVERSE CITY — Samantha Day faced a mountain of hopelessness and despair.
Pregnant, broke and homeless at age 17, Samantha contemplated dropping out of high school to support her baby.
"Alone," the Traverse City resident said. "Scary. Eventually, I will run out of money and I will not be able care for my daughter."
That was just over a year ago. Today, life is much different, thanks in large part to Traverse City High School, a safety net that saved her.
Today, she smiles. Samantha earned her high school diploma, her daughter is healthy, and she attends Northwestern Michigan College.
She hopes to be a social worker some day.
"I'm very good at giving advice with everything I've gone through," Samantha said. "I know what people's feelings are and how they have to look for help."
Samantha said a troubled childhood left her with few trusted family members. She enrolled at Traverse City High School while pregnant and met Joan Abbott, of the alternative high school's Students in Transition Empowerment Program, or STEP.
Abbott feared Samantha was about to drop out. She and others convinced her to stick it out and rallied resources to help a scared girl. High school students with children frequently have only a tenuous hold on school, she said.
"(They) are always in danger of dropping out because they are trying to figure out how to survive," Abbott said. "Often students will say, 'There's no way I can go to school. I have to take care of my daughter.' And we say, 'No, there is a way, and we are going to help you out.'"
A critical step: finding Samantha transportation to and from school. Abbott and others helped her navigate the Bay Area Transportation Authority bus system so her baby could accompany her to classes.
The baby received care at the school's day care program. Samantha was allowed to leave class to feed her.
Samantha landed in a local host home for a few months with the help of Catholic Human Services until her life stabilized and she moved in with her grandparents, Paul and Sandy Schaub of Traverse City.
Abbott described Samantha as extremely bright, and she participated in the school's dual enrollment program, which allows students to earn high school credits while they attend college classes.
"We saw she was an excellent student and she was highly motivated," Abbott said.
Traverse City High School made all the difference. Today, the once-despondent teen works at Kmart and Birchwood Nursing Home to support herself and her daughter.
Today, her grandparents beam with pride when they speak of Samantha.
"We just took her in because she shows us that she's willing to make something out of herself," Paul Schaub said. "She's really working at it."
Sandy Schaub is thankful for the school, the STEP program and others who helped her granddaughter.
"Rather than being a high school dropout, there was a place where she could go," Sandy Schaub said.
The STEP program helped about 500 kids from across the region last year. Students who lack permanent housing qualify.
Abbott enjoys seeing students like Samantha succeed.
"It gives me hope for kids who've been dealt a raw hand," Abbott said. "If we put our heads together as a community and do what each of us can do well, we can serve these students, and their potential is unleashed."
Former homeless teen mom turned life around at TC High School
TRAVERSE CITY — Samantha Day faced a mountain of hopelessness and despair.
NMC board to address OMA allegations
Northwestern Michigan College trustees on Monday will discuss allegations they violated state open meetings laws. But they might do so behind closed doors.Continued ...
Local officials: Email no way to conduct public business
Local government officials expressed surprise and concern over a newspaper report that Northwestern Michigan College trustees may have violated state law when they used email and other non-public means to deliberate and decide a proposal to videotape their meetings.Continued ...
Mancelona's story similar, unique
This Antrim County community’s story mirrors those of many small towns. Industry boomed. Franchised stores shot up, mom-and-pops struggled to compete. Industry left, commerce sufferedContinued ...
Dems drum up opposition for Leelanau seats
Republicans dominated the Leelanau County ballot for years, but they’ll have some company this year.Continued ...
Betsie River, Crystal Lake to be part of watershed management plan
It’s all about groundwater. So said Ed Hoogterp. He’s the former president of the Crystal Lake and Watershed Association who spearheads work on a watershed management plan for the area that runs east of Interlochen to the Frankfort lighthouse.Continued ...
- Saturday, April 19, 2014
Plane returns to Cherry Capital
A Delta Airlines flight returned to Cherry Capital Airport minutes after takeoff because of a problem with the plane’s landing gear.Continued ...
Theory and neighbors' sentiment collide on rezoning
TRAVERSE CITY -- City commissioners face a choice between following their housing ideology or bowing to residents who call a proposed development of four mid-priced houses both ludicrous and dangerous. Architect John Kerridge proposes to construct foContinued ...
Blair Elementary has new leader
Blair Elementary has new leader TRAVERSE CITY -- Blair Elementary School has a new leader in place for next school year. Traverse City Area Public Schools administrators selected Kirsten Jones-Morgan to replace Sharon Dionne, who will retire July 1.Continued ...
Leelanau Peninsula Chamber to get new website
Leelanau Chamber to get new website TRAVERSE CITY -- It's time for a makeover for the Leelanau Peninsula Chamber of Commerce's website. Leelanau County Commissioners voted to allocate up to $10,000 in 2 percent grant money earmarked for economic devContinued ...
19th century skull returned to Band for ceremony
TRAVERSE CITY -- One Leelanau County family heirloom will no longer be passed down to the next generation. Sheriff Mike Borkovich said a family who did not want to be named gave his office a human skull that had been in the family for years. An elderContinued ...
- Friday, April 18, 2014
Flight returns to Cherry Capital
TRAVERSE CITY — A Delta Airlines flight returned to Cherry Capital Airport minutes after takeoff because of a problem with the plane's landing gear.Continued ...
Attorney files for reorganization
TRAVERSE CITY -- A prominent Traverse City attorney's law practice remains open after he sought bankruptcy protection amid a lengthy and potentially costly legal battle with a former client. Clarence Gomery, of Gomery Law Offices, said his April 2 baContinued ...
Kalkaska fire destroys rentals
TRAVERSE CITY -- Fire tore through an apartment building in the south end of the Village of Kalkaska. Kalkaska County Sheriff David Israel said he didn't think anyone was seriously injured or killed in the Thursday afternoon blaze, but the entire buiContinued ...
Kalkaska County Board Chair to resign
TRAVERSE CITY -- Kalkaska County's longest-serving commissioner will resign at the end of the month. Debra Kimball, who represents Kalkaska Township, but not the village, stepped down from her position as board chair at a meeting Tuesday night. She mContinued ...
Caldwell sentenced in woman's death
TRAVERSE CITY -- A Traverse City man who said he accidentally shot his girlfriend to death in a failed suicide attempt will serve a sentence of about 11.5 to 19 years, the maximum sentence. Robert Lee-Allen Caldwell, 33, plead guilty to involuntary mContinued ...
Acme decision: Lovett or leave it
TRAVERSE CITY -- Lyle Lovett concert posters decorate bulletin boards throughout Traverse City, but that may be as close as the country music artist and actor gets to town, if promoters can't swing a zoning permit. Lovett and His Large Band are schedContinued ...
GT board picks Gourdie-Fraser as engineer firm for county
TRAVERSE CITY -- Grand Traverse County's Board of Public Works selected the local firm that designed and built the county's long-troubled septage treatment plant to serve as its engineer of record for the next three years. Gourdie-Fraser Inc. beat ouContinued ...
Second NMC stabbing suspect pleads guilty
BY SARAH ELMS firstname.lastname@example.org Second NMC stabbing suspect pleads guiltyContinued ...
- Thursday, April 17, 2014
Emails show NMC leaders made decisions outside public meetings
Northwestern Michigan College’s elected officials debated in a flurry of emails whether to televise their monthly board meetings, a behind-the-scenes decision-making process that altered some trustees’ public opposition and occurred outside the public eye.Continued ...
NMC president's email to college staff
Northwestern Michigan College President Tim Nelson sent the following email to college employees Tuesday afternoon:Continued ...
Michigan's Open Meetings Act
State lawmakers created Michigan’s Open Meetings Act to strengthen citizens’ ability to know what goes on in government, according to an OMA guide published by Michigan’s attorney general.Continued ...
Consultant: Architecture great, traffic a problem
Heads shook and shoulders drooped as the group approached one of the last stops on a tour of Eighth Street in Traverse City: the brick and barn-red sheet metal walls of an auto parts warehouse.Continued ...
Division Street residents stuck in sewer limbo
Division Street residents Bill Greene and James Begeman might live in Traverse City’s most unfortunate place for a sewer, as evidenced by a possible repair bill of more than $60,000 to fix their collapsed line.Continued ...
Millage to go on ballot at same rate
Leelanau County commissioners unanimously agreed to put a senior services millage on the August ballot. They approved language for a 4-year renewal at .275 mills.Continued ...
Man faces arson and insurance fraud charges
An Antrim County man faces felony charges of conspiracy to commit arson and insurance fraud after investigators received information that an April 2013 house fire may have been intentionally set.Continued ...
- NMC board to address OMA allegations