December 20, 2012 in Washington Voices

Mom of twins prepares for life after graduation

On Track has helped Emery, 17, enjoy school
By The Spokesman-Review
 
Tyler Tjomsland photoBuy this photo

Megan Emery smiles at her twin sons, Lucas, left, and Jesse, 2, as she enters their home in Spokane through a sliding glass door on Dec. 15. Emery gave birth to the boys when she was 15.
(Full-size photo)(All photos)

To learn more

On Track: www.spokaneschools.org/Page/16612

NEWTECH: skillscenter.com

Senior year can be a hectic time for high school students. College applications must be mailed, senior project deadlines loom, plus there’s the daily grind of regular schoolwork.

Imagine tackling all of that while raising 2-year-old twin boys.

Megan Emery, 17, doesn’t have to imagine it – she’s doing it. A student at On Track Academy and NEWTECH Skills Center, the busy mom has already been accepted at Spokane Community College.

Pretty amazing for a teen who admits, “I’ve always hated school.”

While her busy boys, Jesse and Lucas, played nearby, Emery discussed how her life changed at 15.

“I was living with my sister in South Carolina. I felt sick all the time – I couldn’t eat anything.”

She blamed her malaise on the stress of moving until a pregnancy test revealed the truth. When an ultrasound showed she was expecting twins, Emery said, “I starting crying.”

Despite the emotional and physical upheaval, she finished her freshman year. “We talked about my sister adopting them for awhile, but I wanted to have my kids. I’d already felt them move.”

Emery returned to Spokane and moved into Paula’s House Maternity Home, operated by Life Services. “The house parents were very supportive,” she said. “I started going to Young Lives and I still go.” Young Lives is a group for teen moms sponsored by Young Life.

After the birth of her twins, Emery moved in with her mother. She enrolled at On Track in 2011. “Now, I actually enjoy getting up and going to school,” she said.

Her mom cares for Lucas and Jesse while Emery attends classes.

She catches an STA bus at 7 a.m. near her South Hill home and arrives at the Hillyard-area school for an early start to her day. “I get to do my favorite thing first thing in the morning – culinary class!”

Emery studies culinary arts at NEWTECH. The program encompasses all areas of food service, but Emery definitely has a preference. “Baking is my favorite,” she said. “I really want to be a pastry chef.”

After culinary class, she grabs a quick lunch and heads over to the nearby On Track classrooms for her core studies. Martha Severn is her adviser.

“She’s pretty amazing,” Severn said. “She’s worked really hard.”

On Track’s flexible schedule has made all the difference to the young mom. “They’ve helped me work my schedule around my kids,” Emery said.

Additionally, she appreciates the school’s practical approach to learning. “They tie real life to everything.” For example, she baked a cake and wrote a report about it for a science credit. The report demonstrated her scientific knowledge because Emery explained the chemical reactions that occur while baking.

Severn said, “We get to know the students and find things that interest them.” That interaction keeps students involved and committed.

“Lately, I’ve been doing a ton of math,” Emery said. “I only need three credits to graduate.”

She’s generally done with her work by 2 and returns home to care for her twins. As she chatted about her schedule she asked the boys, “What do you want for dinner?”

“Pizzas!” said Jesse, handing a visitor a green fabric disc. “It’s a pizzas,” he explained.

Lucas set a stuffed puppy on a nearby potty chair while shouting his dinner choice, “Yogurt!”

As the boys played happily, Emery admitted, “Sometimes I wonder what I’d be doing if I wasn’t a mom.” She paused, then said, “I’d probably be a slacker. I’m a lot more motivated now.”

She eagerly anticipates her graduation ceremony. “I’m looking forward to wearing a cap and gown.” She nodded toward the twins. “I wasn’t sure I’d graduate after I had them. But I’m a lot more responsible. I’ve matured a lot.”

Emery smiled when talking about her plans. “My dream job is to own a bakery.”

Severn sees a successful future for her hardworking student. “She’s got goals and a strong drive to get where she needs to be. I expect some tasty treats from her.”

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