For Cardwell Career Preparatory senior Cali Flynt, graduation will be meaningful for several reasons. For one, it’s a testament to her resilience, and it will serve as an inspiration for her 1-year-old son, Daniel. Flynt’s high school experience was different from most of her peers, but that didn’t stop her from pursuing her education and working hard to achieve her goals.
“When I first found out I was pregnant, I hid it from my peers. I just kept going to school,” she says. “In the beginning it was a challenge balancing being a parent and going to school. I would be very tired in class after watching him through the night, but thanks to my support system, things got better.”
Flynt credits her parents for their support as well as TAPPS (Teenage Pregnant & Parenting Students), an Irving ISD drop-out prevention program created to assist students who are pregnant or parenting. Due to having such a strong support system, she was able to focus more on her education and art, which Flynt says serves as an outlet for her and is something she’s seen great success with. She recently won 3rd place at the Irving ISD Art Show and earned a medal at the VASE (Visual Arts Scholastic Event) Regional Competition.
“Cali is extremely gifted and has tremendous talents that she should be proud of,” adds Cardwell art teacher Layla Day.
On June 8, Flynt will be one of many Irving ISD graduating seniors who will cross the home plate at Globe Life Field. She was recently awarded a $6,000 scholarship from the Irving School’s Foundation and a $1,000 scholarship from Soroptimist which will help in her next phase of life. While she’s undecided about which college she’d like to attend, she has two options she’s keeping in mind – Dallas College or Midwestern State University.
“I’m a little nervous because I haven’t made a decision yet, but I want to make sure I do what’s best for me and my son,” adds Flynt. “This is a big decision for me to make.”
Even though her school of choice hasn’t been decided, Flynt says she looks forward to learning new things in her next phase of life. She has plans to stay in the Dallas area after college and become a dental hygienist.
“Cali is someone who overcomes and tackles whatever comes her way. She never shies away from a challenge,” says Cardwell Dean of Students Marla Rhodes. “No matter how high the bar is set, Cali’s going to get there no matter how difficult the journey may be.”
For other teen parents, Flynt wants them to know that they shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help if they need it and to keep trying and never give up because your kids are always watching.