Former Teen Mom Dreams of College

True to her name, 14-year-old Diamond Coley shined, trailing light and laughter through the classroom. I should know; I taught her 9th grade English.

Nearly a decade after we lost touch, a photo of Diamond showed up in my Facebook feed. Her face reflected a spirit hardened by the pressure of raising the seven-year-old by her side.

I did the math, realized Diamond had given birth at 16, and reached out. After finding out I’d become a writer, she said, “I just want people to know what our life is like. I don’t want to be alone with it anymore.” Nearly a year later, she made news by sharing the raw, heart-twisting details of her life as a single teen mother in the Washington Post:

Diamond revealed how she “faked her periods for a while” when hiding the pregnancy as a high school junior, how an appointment for an abortion ended with her sobbing in the arms of her boyfriend’s mother in a clinic parking lot, how she refused to drop out - attending class until she was hugely pregnant, later studying while her baby napped, and ultimately graduating with honors - and how now starting work at dawn as a public transit janitor means she has to beg others to drop her second-grader off at school.

Diamond has spent the last eight years wishing she could go to college and study information technology, but supporting her son instead.

Malia Obama is taking a gap year. Let's come together to make Diamond Coley's years of hard work a "gap decade." 

All of the funds raised will be placed in an education savings plan account. She and I will be forever grateful for any amount, large or small.

For Diamond Coley, going to college now truly would be a dream ... deferred.



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  • Morgana Wyze 
    • $100 
    • 45 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 45 mos
  • Katie Kruger 
    • $10 
    • 45 mos
  • Debbie Greenberger 
    • $50 
    • 50 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 50 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Gail Cornwall 
San Francisco, CA
Diamond Coley 

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