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Nature Coast Technical High School graduates

New mom perseveres, gets Nature Coast diploma


Rachel Hatfield Rahn has a lot to get used to these days.

She has a new, triple-decker name and a new human being to raise. Soon, she'll be moving to a new home in South Carolina and trying to launch a career. There's a new marriage to a husband headed for Army training, and a new social reality to figure out with her friends.

And, oh yes, tonight she'll get a high school diploma with her classmates at Nature Coast Technical High, right on schedule.

For an 18-year-old, that's a full plate, and she's happy to be carrying it. "It's exciting," Rahn said recently. "I'm glad that I'm this far."

Last year, the future didn't look nearly so bright. Pregnant and unsure of what her future held, she let her studies slide.

"I didn't care about anything last year," she said. "I was focused on other things."

Things didn't get any simpler this year. Her son, Elijah, was born Dec. 19.

That meant enrolling in the teen parenting program at Nature Coast, where about 30 students — mostly girls but also a few boys — get a crash course in balancing school with their new parenting responsibilities.

The program provides direct instruction in the details any parent must face — how to burp a baby, how to establish good sleeping habits — as well as help with the challenges of being a young parent. For Rahn, that has meant helping to care for toddlers while their teen parents were in class, and leaving her own child in the care of peers at the center while she studies.

Life is different now. She has less time for endless chats with friends, more in common with people in the world beyond high school. Being a teen parent is never an ideal situation, and many students in the program struggle, said teacher Pat Lonergin. But the reality is that some teens will always need help coping with the consequences of unprotected sex, she said.

"I wish I was out of a job," Lonergin added, wishing for a world in which all teens waited to be parents. "But in their defense, they've chosen to raise their children. We help them be the best parents they can be, and the best students they can be."

Somehow, that's what happened to Rahn. Rather than grow more isolated and immobilized with the birth of her son, she became ambitious and focused. She attended night classes, studied online, did whatever it took to get back on track to graduate. Earlier this month, she won her school's Turnaround Achievement award for her efforts.

"Perseverance, beating the odds," said counselor Carmela Sardogan. "She did everything she could to make sure she came back and graduated."

Her husband, Joshua, was there every step of the way to help. But this summer, Rahn will be on her own, as he begins a new Army career and she adjusts to life as a military spouse.

She doesn't have the highest grade-point average, nor the easiest future. But her teachers say she can do it if anyone can.

"I guess I just grew up," Rahn said. "I just wanted to get out of school and do something with my life."

Nature Coast Technical High School graduates

Destiny Abtey

Courtney Acevedo

Katherine Adams

Dior Agosto

Daniel Aiello

Zainah Alabed

Steven Albano

Emma Alexandre

Amber Allen

Brittany Allen

Jacob Almasy

Jaclyn Altieri

Dylan Anger

Meghan Arns

Danielle Autexier

James Baker Jr.

Nathan Barnwell

Melissa Bauknight

Leticia Bazaldua

Louis Bermudez

Barbara Berrios

Ashley Blackford

Teresa Brabham

Cassandra Bretagna

Emily Brockhoff

Samantha Brooks

Matthew Broughton

Edward Brown

Alysha Brunette

Robbie Burnett

William Busker

Kevin Butler

Travis Camacho

Zachary Cabrera

Michael Carrese

Ashley Carson

Anthony Carter

Tyler Caruthers

Amanda Casiotta

Justine Casiano

Courtney Castle

Alexander Challis

Russell Chapman

Ryan Clowar

Heather Cole

Chelsea Collins

Alexandra Colon

Michael Concepcion

Kyle Connelly

Elizabeth Coscia

Kaella Counihan

Devon Cox

Cristina Crane

Tara Crescenzi

Samantha Crowell

Kevin Crowley

Jordan Cuesta

Felicia Cullen

Tatiana Cupeles

Cody Curl

Samantha Daley

Patrick Danielewicz Jr.

Byran Dano

Carolyn Dano

Jordan Davila

Douglas Davis III

Katherine Davis

Monica Decardenas

Catherine Delz

Anthony Demeo

Brandon Derespiris

Alyssa Diaz

Damian Diaz

Juan Diaz

Anthony Degrigoli

Patrick Dixon

Caroline Dokoupil

Ashley Donald

Keith Donlon

Joseph Dono

Shawn Doolittle

Patrice Drake

Anthony Dunn

Crystal Estrada

Paul Falcone Jr.

Christopher Feins

Nestor Feliciano

John Ferrara III

Justin Fertig

Nataly Figueira

Kelly Finnican

Louis Fiore

Alexander Flores

Anthony Fraccalvieri

Douglas Francisco

Melissa Franco

Ryan Fuller

Hank Fyock

Stephanie Garcia

Gregory Garman

Ann Garofano

David Garton

Kenneth George

Samantha Gibbs

Rachel Glisson

Alyssa Goldman

Michael Gonzalez

Patrick Gonzalez

Michael Goodell

Brandon Gordon

Elizabeth Greco

Keith Green

Cherise Grossi

Robert Grubbs

Becky Guin

Monica Gula

Anthony Gutierrez

Gladys Guzman

Dylan Hagar

Kelli Harbaugh

Tiffany Harvin

Ashleigh Harris

James Hausen III

Nicholas Hernandez

Joy Herron

William Hinkle

Travis Hogue

William Holobinka

Allanna Honigman

Jeremy Hope

Cassandra Houston

James Huang

Kevin Hunninghaus

Chelsea Huntsinger

Aaron Jasiak

Jonathan Johnson

Aberlee Jones

Christopher Jones

Amanda Kapes

Adam Karpinski

Angelina Keys

Rachel Kibbitt

Sarah Kidder

Kyle Kinderman

Michael King

Kayla Kinney

Katlyn Kline

Thomas Koeller

Jessica Lai

Palmer Lake

Blayne Larocca

Timothy LaRose

Jessica Lathem

Bryan Lawson

Rachel Leavine

Andrew Leeman

Michael Liquori Jr.

Sarah Lonergan

Joshua Looman

Valerie Lovetere

David Luddeke

Machenzie Mackert

Thomas Maffatone

Rachel Manning

Amanda Maracich

Alyssa Marano

Danielle Marenghi

Brittany Marucci

Alexander Mason

Kristin Mason

Napoleon Mason

Rachel Maybee

James McCabe

Keith McCabe

Felicia McCaffrey

Andrew McCracken

Joseph McDonald

Erin Meehan

Rahimer Mejia

Mallory Mengler

Thomas Merendino

Wanda Meyer

Alexandra Meyerson

Alicia Miller

Anthony Mingari

Erin Mitchell

Nicholas Moore

Spencer Moore

Alexander Morley

Matthew Morrow

Kaylie Morse-Scism

Janina Muguercia

Latoya Munford

Travis Murray

Brittni Muti

Laci Muti

Jacob Myers

Brandon Nuby

Christopher O'Mahony

Peter Orgass

Justine Ortiz

Nicholas Ortiz

Jessica Otero

Melissa Owen

Brittany Padilla

Toni Palermo

Anthony Panariello

Jeanine Panepinto

Jay Pannozzo

Cameron Pareizs

Stephen Pelaez

Ashley Penfield

David Perez

Victoria Perkins

Michael Perreira

Kathryn Phillips

Daniel Piechowicz

Samantha Piskura

Jasmin Pititto

Brittani Pluskota

Christopher Polizzi

Matthew Powell

Zachary Power

Jennifer Price

Karen Priest

Ashley Pugliese

Jessie Quatararo

Bryan Raborn

Rachel Rahn

James Ralston

Aaron Randall

James Raymond

Derek Reardon

Krystal Reese

Stephanie Reyes

Alexandra Rideout

Louis Ritchie

Matthew Rittweger

Joshua Roberts

Nelsie Robinson

Taylor Roppolo

Phillip Rossi

Jason Rothenberg

Jean-Pierre Salazar

Kelly Sampson

Sarah Schaefer

Eric Schepper

Nicole Schmitt

Nicole Schnackenberg

Jasmine Scott

Ashley Sedlack

Alisha Sermons

Brittany Sessa

Katelyn Shepard

Rebecca Siegel

Bradford Signore

Joseph Silvestri

Reshma Singh

Shawn Sites

Jasmine Smalls

Michael Smith

Brett Sollazzo

Jaimee St. Hilaire

Katherine Stellpflug

Lauren Stone

Ashley Stout

Ryan Taylor

Jennifer Tellarini

Reshad Terry

Amanda Thompson

Danielle Thurmond

Sarah Tilson

Sara Toftegaard

Valerie Toohey

Tanner Tooker

Hope Totino

Kenneth Treverton

April Trezise

Richard Truncale

Blake Undestad

David Vargas

Lynette Vaughn

David Venable

Toni Venezia

Jennifer Viola

Matthew Voscinar

Kaitlin Wadsworth

Michael Wadsworth

Lauren Wajerski

Tonya Waugh

Ryan Webster

Philip Werner

Dominique Williams

Preston Williams

Kyle Willinsky

Jakara Willis

Courtney Wong

Lisa Wright

Matthew Yaist

Diana Yates

The leaders of the class

Valedictorian, Sarah Lonergan

Parents: Pat and Jerry Lonergan

GPA: 4.2

College: University of Central Florida

Field of Study: Hospitality/Hotel Management or Business


Christopher Jones

Parents: Janet and Thomas Jones

GPA: 4.19

College: University of South Florida, Tampa

Field of Study: Finance

Rest of the best

3. Monica Gula

4. Carolyn Dano

5. Nathan Barnwell

6. April Trezise

7. Samantha Piskura

8. Lauren Wajerski

9. Tyler Caruthers

10. Jennifer Viola

If you go

Nature Coast Technical High School will hold its commencement ceremony at 7:30 tonight at the school, 4057 California St., Brooksville. 797-7088.

New mom perseveres, gets Nature Coast diploma 06/03/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 4, 2008 9:34pm]
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