"What makes parents give up on their children? Why am I homeless? Why can't I be happy?"
When high school graduation is a not a given, but a hard-earned goal
For most high school seniors, this is the happiest time of the year. Colleges have been chosen, the prom is just around the corner and graduation is a given.
But not for Diamond Syas, a 17-year-old senior in the Beacon Alternative Learning Program at John F. Kennedy High School in Bloomington, Minnesota.
As Minnesota Public Radio reported last week, Diamond's challenges are bigger than what gown to wear or what yearbook inscription to write.
The story, reported by Laura Yuen, did not end on an upbeat note:
Diamond stopped returning my texts for a while. And she started missing a lot more school.
She has only 16 more days to go until the end of the year, but if she's absent just one more time, she will have to go to summer school.
I heard from Diamond today. "I'm not OK," she texted me.
I wrote back, "What happened? I'm concerned."
She responded with just one word that seemed to sum it up: "Life."
Immediately after hearing the broadcast, listeners reached out to help the struggling high school senior.
You offered money, emotional support, mentorship, rides, and spare bedrooms. Some even offered to take her in as their own child. “I’m too old for that,” she said with a laugh. But she’d be open to coming to your home for dinner — and becoming your friend.
Yuen then went on to list what Diamond really needs:
Here’s what she needs: money for college, a car or a place of her own. She’s not even sure she wants to stay in Minnesota and notes that she has extended family, including her grandmother, in Illinois.
Diamond would also welcome any professional connections in computer networking or engineering.
What Diamond seems to have plenty of, according to Yuen, is determination:
She said she is not going to miss another day of school. There are only three more weeks to go. She says there’s no question — she will cross that stage in June.