For nine months, the girls at Metropolitan High, L.A.'s largest continuation school, met once a week in the library swapping secrets, sharing insights and, above all, learning to love themselves. Week after week, they articulated their self-worth, boosted each other's spirits and developed new expectations for themselves.
Metro was the second school selected by the Los Angeles City Commission on the Status of Women for the special program; this year, four other high schools are offering it. The Times wrote about the Young Women at Risk program in April after following the girls for seven months ("Big Dreams at Metro High," April 8).
Since then, lives have taken new shape and direction. By the school year's end, seven of the 34 girls who attended the class on Tuesdays had graduated. Another four will graduate in June, including 17-year-old Blanca Ortiz, who skipped school through most of her adolescence but is now succeeding at juggling the demands of young motherhood and her education.
Fifteen more girls are about to complete junior year.
"But you're not going to reach everybody," says Assistant Principal Nancy DePaolo. "Nothing in our society is a complete safety net."