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Perla Gonzalez is ready to receive her high school diploma this December, but just nine months ago she had dropped out of school and given up on graduating. With a newborn baby to take care of, the inflexible schedule of a typical school couldn’t meet her needs. When her niece told her about Premier High School of West El Paso’s credit recovery option and more flexible schedule, she decided to try again.

“I was cleaning offices because I couldn’t get any other job without a high school degree. I really didn’t like it, and I wanted a better life for my baby. One day at work I decided that I had had enough and needed to go back to get my high school degree,” said Perla.

If she returned to her local public school, Perla would have to spend two more years at school. Two years is time she doesn’t have to spare. By enrolling at Premier this fall and working hard, Perla is back on track. She is set to graduate in December, which is only one semester behind her peers.

“I am very excited. I tried to go back to school after having my baby, but there just wasn’t anyone who could take care of her. I really thought I would never graduate. It means a lot to me and my future that I can get my diploma,” said Perla.

Her schedule hasn’t been easy, but Premier has allowed her the flexibility she needs. The earlier release time has made it easier for her to pick up her daughter Hazel before her husband goes to work. Because her pace is only limited by her ability to master concepts, Perla will often bring home coursework so she can get ahead.

Receiving the support she needs from teachers has also made it easier for her to stay on track.

“I struggled so much before coming here. I couldn’t pass my classes because I couldn’t get the help I needed. At Premier I can always come talk to the teacher if I have questions. They are very helpful and great to work with,” said Perla.

In her time at Premier, Perla has realized she is in control of her life.

“Being responsible for getting my work done and seeing that I can do it has given me confidence. I have also learned how to be more efficient with my time because it is up to me,” she said.

Perla is proud of her success because she wants to be a good example to her own daughter.

“I want to give my baby a good life. I have big hopes for her and I can’t wait to see what she will do,” she said.

After she graduates, Perla plans to take a year to work and then go to college. Her long term goal is to be a kindergarten or first grade teacher.

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