Trameka Pope is a shining example of what can be achieved despite major challenges. She became pregnant in eighth grade and gave birth during ninth grade. Despite this, she was still able to graduate first in her class and be named valedictorian of Wendell Phillips Academy High School. Pope also managed to hold down a job, complete extracurricular activities, and be accepted to more than 25 colleges. She was able to achieve success thanks to the help of Dawn Jackson, her social worker, the support of her school counselors, and the assistance of the non-profit, SGA Youth and Family Services. Pope is now planning to attend Western Illinois University in the fall and wants to earn a Ph.D. in social work.
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Despite facing numerous obstacles and having few resources, Trameka Pope, an 18-year-old Chicagoan, is a shining example of what can be achieved with hard work and determination. Having fallen pregnant in eighth grade and giving birth in ninth grade, Pope still managed to graduate first in her class and be named valedictorian of Wendell Phillips Academy High School. In addition to her academic success, Pope held down a job at a local grocery store, participated in cheerleading and National Honor Society, and was accepted to more than 25 colleges, receiving over $600,000 in scholarships.
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Pope credits her success to Dawn Jackson, her social worker, the support of her school counselors, and the assistance of the non-profit, SGA Youth and Family Services, who enable Chicago’s youth, families, and communities to understand their potential and find fresh routes to achievement. Pope is now planning to attend Western Illinois University in the fall and wants to earn a Ph.D. in social work. Jackson declared, “You still can, you can make it, and you can become anything, no matter what background you come from, no matter if you had a child as a teenager, no matter what people think about you.” Pope herself said, “I always claimed that I wanted to make change and that I wanted to be in the history books, and I started with myself. I kept trying. I exerted a lot of effort. And my infant inspired me every day to work hard so that I could support her and avoid becoming a statistic.”