From Alexandra Sobiech:
Gissella Pinos, a 16-year-old ESL student at Wellstone International, decided to continue her education despite her father’s death and her pregnancy.
Pinos’ father came to the United States at the age of 16 from Ecuador to find work and eventually brought his family to join him in Minnesota. Last year, her father committed suicide, and shortly after, Pinos discovered she was pregnant.
Pinos writes in her essay that her now nine-month old boy is what kept her family out of deep depression. “I wanted to show the girls that being a young mother does not have to take you out of school,” she says. “That’s something I have to show my baby boy. I can go to school.”
She says that her father was an influence on her decision to stay in high school, because he never had the opportunity. Pinos says she wants to continue onto cosmetology school to make her father proud. “He’s going to see me have a better life,” she says.
She writes in her essay, “To be a young mother did not steal my youth, however, it gave me a new perspective, to be with my son.”
Pinos primarily speaks Spanish, only beginning to learn English four years ago. “I think all my efforts have been worth each second,” says Pinos.
Photo: Gissella Pinos refines her essay during a writing class at Wellstone Senior High School on Monday, Oct. 29, 2012, in Minneapolis. (Credit: Anthony Kwan)