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Doveton toddlers in hand, exams on the mind

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June 13, 2018 by admin

Life lessons: Leesa Laporte, with daughter Salinah, is taking ‘baby-steps’ back to school. Picture: Sam StiglecTEENAGE mothers are being given a vital stepping-stone to get back to school in a makeshift classroom at Mission Australia’s early learning centre in Doveton.
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While the young mothers learn VCE subjects, their babies sleep in a nursery in the next room.

Cranbourne’s Leesa Leporte, 19, who became pregnant after completing year 10, said she didn’t think she would have gone back to school without the program.

“I knew I was older than everyone else there. My friends had graduated and people knew I had dropped out because I was pregnant.”

Sharing the program with 13 other mothers last year made the return to study a whole lot easier.

Now she’s studying years 11 and 12 subjects at Hallam Senior College and has plans for future TAFE studies.

Classmate Beth Coppola said the opportunity to stay close to her eight-month-old daughter Amber-Rose was the main reason she went “back to school” through the Aim’n High program.

When she first arrived, she was six months pregnant and had a year 10 education.

“I didn’t know if I could be a good parent, let alone study as well,” Ms Coppola said.

The work has been surprisingly easy for her, though, and she is now aiming for a university midwifery degree.

Ms Coppola and three classmates are mentored by two teachers from Hallam Senior College in VCE English, sociology, health and human development, and mathematics.

Mission Australia state director Emma Cassar said the program aimed to help an estimated 100 teenage mothers in the region return to school and get off welfare dependency.

To join the program, call South East Youth Connections on 1800335106.


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