DETROIT (WWJ) – A Detroit public school that’s designed to keep pregnant students from dropping out may have seen its final graduating class, scheduled to close next year as part of the district’s deficit reduction plan.
For the past 23 years, Catherine Ferguson Academy has helped teen moms not miss a beat academically. The school not only helps students grow toward becoming good moms, but also towards college and careers.
WWJ Newsradio 950’s Pat Sweeting reports much of that progress is due to Principal Asenath Andrews and her expectations.
“A lot of girls think that after they have a baby they can’t do anything after that. So, when they say that to me I’m going, ‘Well, why?’ I said, you know, when you have a baby it’s only the baby who leaves you, not your brain,” said Andrews.
With approximately 200 students from Detroit and the surrounding suburbs, every year Catherine Ferguson achieves a 90 percent graduation rate, and 100 percent of those who graduate are accepted to college, most with financial aid.
Forty-seven young women graduated in the class of 2011 — 46 headed for college and one for the U.S. Marines Corps.
A 19-year-old Catherine Buckins said she learned discipline and determination at the academy. “I caught three busses every day, just to get to school on time … with my baby,” she said.
In April, Buckins was among students who staged a spring break sit-in in an attempt to save the school. Thirteen people were arrested.
“We locked ourselves in with our kids. And that part was the most amazing part to me, because I felt like I was part of something, saving my school,” Bickins said.
CFA was the subject of a 2010 award-winning documentary, “Grown in Detroit” by Dutch filmmakers Mascha and Manfred Poppenk in 2010. (Watch the trailer at this link.)