GRAD Teen mom to graduate a year early

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 3, 2015

To say that Rebecca Gainey has overcome the odds is an understatement.

The 17-year-old is a single mother, she’s been in foster care for the past three years, and her own mother is in jail.

Through hard work and dedication, however, Gainey will become the first person in her family to graduate high school. On top of that, she’s also graduating a year early and will be the first student from Rowan County’s Crosby Scholars program.

Gainey said her 2-year-old son, Blake, has been her motivation to graduate.

When Blake was born her freshman year of high school, Gainey was determined to stay in school.

“He’s motivated me a lot to graduate,” she said, adding that she knows graduating from high school and attending college will allow him to grow up living comfortably.

“It’s helped me to grow up a lot faster,” Gainey added.

“He’s helped me with a lot of struggles,” she said. “I just strive to do what’s best for him and for me.”

When Gainey was first put into foster care, she was placed with a family in Charlotte and attended Myer’s Park High School.

“When I was at Myer’s Park, I made the decision to graduate early,” she said. “I’m supposed to be a junior, but I took my junior and senior classes here.”

After graduation, Gainey plans to attend Rowan-Cabarrus Community College to get her associate’s degree before transferring to a traditional four-year college or university. Ultimately, she wants to become a substance abuse counselor.

“My mother and my father both struggle with addiction,” she said. “I’ve seen the heartache it causes.”

Gainey’s also secured a job at a nursing home, where she will begin working over the next few weeks.

“I like old people,” she said. “I have a heart for old people and children.”

Gainey said she’s planning to use the money she earns to purchase a car and get her own apartment.