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Alumna profile: MonaLisa Martinez

MonaLisa Martinez is a former student of Florence Crittenton High School. She attended Florence Crittenton in 1990-1991. Then, the school was very small building located near 12th Avenue and Federal Boulevard. The classrooms were located on one side of the hallway;…

May 4, 2017
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Julia Goodman
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Stories from Alumnae
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MonaLisa Martinez is a former student of Florence Crittenton High School. She attended Florence Crittenton in 1990-1991. Then, the school was very small building located near 12th Avenue and Federal Boulevard. The classrooms were located on one side of the hallway; the childcare rooms on the other side of the hallway.

At the age of sixteen, MonaLisa became a mom. She was terrified, and she was confused. Graduating from high school was something she wanted to accomplish. Although she had great support from her family and her boyfriend’s family, she knew it was up to her to finish school. Both of MonaLisa’s parents worked full time jobs. The father of her child was a student himself. MonaLisa had no idea how she was going to complete her education. Her high school counselor talked to her about going to Florence Crittenton Services.

Florence Crittenton Services gave MonaLisa the opportunity to continue her education. The comfort of being with other girls her age, sharing the same journey of teen parenting, and the support of the faculty and staff were such blessings for her. MonaLisa says that she never took this for granted. She worked hard every day. She worked closely and respectfully with her teachers. She remembers utilizing her time and the support she was offered wisely. MonaLisa was able to return to her home school the following school year maintaining a 3.8 GPA. In 1993, she graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School. In the fall of 1993, she attended college on a full scholarship. At this point in MonaLisa’s life, she was trying to be a mom and a student, maintain a job, keep a relationship with the father of her daughter, and be a teenage girl. “It was the most trying and exhausting time of my life,” she remembers. “However, it was also the most incredible, rewarding, and successful part of my life.”

“I am pleased to say I am now a wife and a mother of three beautiful daughters,” says MonaLisa proudly. “My husband and I both graduated from high school and college. We love our careers, our life, and most of all, our journey.”

MonaLisa says she is not quite sure what she would have done if Florence Crittenton Services didn’t exist. She is not even sure where or who she would be today. But she does know that she will forever be grateful for the teachers, the staff, and the community of Florence Crittenton Services. “I am proud to be an alumna of Florence Crittenton High School,” she says. “Most of all, I am extremely proud to be an educator at Florence Crittenton Services’ Early Childhood Education Center, giving the same support and encouragement to teen moms today that I was given many years ago.”