Summer break is well underway for Arizona students but for one Valley high school graduate the celebration is still going strong. Now, this young mom is opening up about her journey, hoping to inspire other students who may be struggling.
Eighteen-year-old Odalis Contreras knows firsthand it can feel pretty much impossible to do anything with a little one around, let alone finish high school.
"He would sit on my computer, he would throw it, I don't even know how this computer is still here with no cracks in it," she said.
Contreras switched to online learning her sophomore year of high school when her son, Angel, was born prematurely. They spent a month in the NICU and it has been a physical and emotional balancing act ever since.
"There were so many times where I just didn't want to keep going and I just kept seeing him there laying down and he didn't ask to be here, and I just want to give him the best life that I can give him," said Contreras.
She credits her family and teachers at ASU Prep Digital with pushing her through to graduation. She now plans to attend South Mountain Community College and eventually transfer to a university.
"I want to study business and major in business and eventually I want to open my own real estate firm," Contreras said.
She also has this to say for anyone else who may need an extra push to continue their education.
"It doesn't matter if you do online school or in-person school or take tutoring lessons, you're doing it to better yourself and I think that's why it's important," she said.