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Sparks High senior juggles being a mother, prepping for graduation
by Garrett Valenzuela
May 08, 2013 | 5424 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo by Garrett Valenzuela -- Sparks High School senior Brittnie Andrews battled through a month away from school tending to her son in order to keep her graduation track. Andrews will attend TMCC in the fall.
Tribune photo by Garrett Valenzuela -- Sparks High School senior Brittnie Andrews battled through a month away from school tending to her son in order to keep her graduation track. Andrews will attend TMCC in the fall.
SPARKS — You could easily mistake Brittnie Andrews for your average high school senior, sporting a bright grin at the thought of graduation being only a month away. As she walks in and out of the administrative office doors at Sparks High School she appears calm and cheerfully greets and assists the faculty.

Though she may not show it, Andrews has plenty on her mind and nothing more important than her 16-month-old son Brayden waiting patiently at home for her return. At the end of her sophomore year, Andrews was faced with the reality that her life was going to drastically change for the duration of her high school years.

“It was kind of hard to accept at first,” Andrews said. “I was in the middle of high school and I didn’t know how I was going to do it.”

Andrews confided in her sister, who had been in a similar situation during her years in high school, and she was able to ease some of her nervousness.

“She was the first one I went to about it and she really supported me and helped me to be able to go through it,” Andrews said. “She was the one I went to for advice. She told me that I needed to do my best and that I needed to make it and be successful, otherwise I was going to have a crappy life. She made it and she was really successful and she wanted me to do the best that I could.”

Andrews was forced to miss a month of school near the end of her pregnancy leaving her far behind her classmates, and though she was able to take much of her work home, she was still facing a deficit by the time she returned. She said her teacher’s efforts enabled her to regain traction in her studies and she found herself back on track within a couple weeks.

“When I came back, I was really behind and out of the loop,” she said. “All my teachers were really supportive so I kind of had everyone on my side. They were patient with me and let me work at my own pace until I was caught up. I had really great teachers and I can’t thank them enough for how they helped me.”

In summation of her high school years, Andrews pointed again to her teachers when asked about the biggest impact Sparks High made on her during her four years.

“They have all really helped me and I have gotten close to all of my teachers,” Andrews said. “I am really comfortable talking to them. They have helped me, supported me, I can talk to all of them so they really did have the biggest impact.”

Outside of school, Andrews is consumed by “playtime.” She said it is not the “normal high school life” of going out on Friday nights or incessantly watching tv, but seeing her son enjoy the outdoors is one thing she cannot pass up.

“I really have to pay attention and I cannot be very carefree,” she said. “I have to watch every move he does and baby-proof the house so it is a lot different than normal high school life.

“He really likes to be outside. He loves playing in the grass or on his play set, and he has really fallen in love with throwing the ball around. We go to the park or play on our grass all the time and he loves it.”

Andrews said she plans to be candid with her son about her high school past in hopes of inspiring him to exceed expectations.

“I just want my son to know that he can do better,” she said. “I want to be open and honest with him about my whole experience and about how it could have been different. I want him to know that I don't want that for him. I want him to enjoy high school and I want him to know every detail and not hide my experience from him so he can make a different experience.”

Andrews has been accepted to Truckee Meadows Community College where she plans to earn her Certified Nurse’s Assistant degree before moving up to become a labor and delivery nurse.

Andrews recalled her past experiences, combined with providing a better life for her child, as the driving force behind her nursing career.

“I had a sister that was special needs so I kind of grew up taking care of her,” she said. “Also my mom had tons of medical problems and so I have always really enjoyed helping take care of people. I have been in and out of the hospital and I have enjoyed helping out, and I have seen what the nurses do and it is something that interests me. It has been what I have wanted to do for a long time.

“I want my son to have a good life. I know my life growing up was not the easiest and I want him to have a better life than I did, so he really pushes me to do better and to do good for myself because I want him to have everything that he can have. He is definitely my motivation.”
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