Granite School District will graduate its largest class of young mothers this spring, according to Almina Barksdale, home economics coordinator for the district and supervisor of Granite's Young Parents Program.
She said the district usually graduates 35 to 40 young women each year, but about 50 will receive their diplomas in exercises June 8."We operate three centers in the district where students, ages 14 to 20, who are pregnant or who have had their babies, can continue their education. A girl who becomes pregnant or who has had a child can attend classes in her own high school if she wants to, but most decide to leave school and prefer to attend one of our three centers."
Barksdale said each center has three certified teachers and an aide who operates a nursery for the students. School lunch is catered at each center and classes include all the academic courses necessary for graduation and a variety of business and home economics courses.
"Practically every student who graduates from a center leaves with a marketable skill. We have about 175 to 200 girls who use our centers each year. About 135 attend at any one time.
"Nearly 90 percent of those who resume their high school education at our three centers graduate. Some take four years, but most can finish in less time," Barksdale said.
If a girl hasn't lost any time from her own high school, she can graduate with her class at her own school. Otherwise, graduation exercises for the girls are held at the district's Community School. A special graduation breakfast is held at the centers June 5.
Recently, Ampad, a paper products company in North Salt Lake, sponsored a first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation class at one of the district's three centers, Young Parent West, at 3760 S. 4610 West, West Valley City.
At the completion of the 4 1/2-hour course, given by West Valley City firefighters Mike Western and Capt. Dean Williams under the auspices of the Utah Emergency Medical Training Council, most of the girls at the center became certified in CPR.
"This is just one example of the kinds of skills we want our students to have," Barksdale said.