Mom Who Gave Birth As High School Senior Celebrates Daughter’s High School Graduation

Jerica Phillips’ 17-year-old daughter, Jaidah, graduated from high school, causing even greater pride in her mother than usual.

By the time Phillips graduated high school, Jaidah Phillips had already become a mother, having been born at the age of 17 at the start of her senior year.

She used social media to chronicle the full-circle mother-daughter event, posting posts on “how it’s going vs. how it started” that went viral immediately.

“It was a great success! “My greatest flex has been motherhood,” Phillips said on LinkedIn. During my senior year of high school, I gave birth to this lovely young woman. Despite the apparent challenges of being a teen mother, I knew I couldn’t give up on my dreams if I wanted her to reach her full potential.”

Phillips, who lives in Memphis, Tennessee, told “Good Morning America” she wanted to capture the moment for herself and her family, but she’s thrilled it’s now inspiring others.

“I didn’t expect my story to inspire so many others,” she said, “but I am grateful for the opportunity.” “I am glad this trial in my life has turned into a testament.”

PHOTO: Jerica Phillips poses with her infant daughter Jaidah during her senior year of high school.

Philips’ life was tested when she fell pregnant and gave birth to Jaidah in the first semester of her senior year. She resumed her studies and graduated on time.

She added, “I was in the top ten of my class, taking all these advanced classes and honors, and I could tell some teachers were disappointed in me.”. “Therefore, I overcame all stereotypes.”. “I wanted to prove to professors and those who disappointed me that I was still capable of achieving my academic goals.”.

Despite her family’s requests to stay in Memphis for college, Phillips chose to attend the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Phillips included Jaidah in her college experience.

Phillips stated that her then-infant daughter was welcomed everywhere on campus. “I took part in cultural events and charity work, as well as joining a sorority.” I carried her everywhere. She quickly became the campus’s baby.”

Jaidah’s father, Phillips’ high school love and future husband, moved to Knoxville to help care for Jaidah while Phillips pursued her dream of being a first-generation college student.

Phillips credited several “blessings” along the way, from professors who allowed Jaidah to attend classes occasionally to the day care director who allowed Phillips to pay for Jaidah’s tuition by semester rather than month since she only received financial aid once a semester.

“Everyone backed me up, and I wouldn’t have achieved it without them. Phillips, who shared off-campus housing with Jaidah, agreed. “I was worried about how people would react and about not being able to care for her and sending her back with my mother, who knew nothing about me.”

I couldn’t have done it without the help of my peers, friends, and sorority sisters, she said. “It gave me confidence and motivated me to keep going.”

PHOTO: Jerica Phillips poses with her daughter Jaidah and sorority sisters at her college graduation in May 2008.

Phillips said she completed college while raising a toddler so that Jaidah could have the future she deserved.

“I had a wonderful childhood thanks to my parents, and I knew she deserved it no matter what choices I made,” she said. “I was willing to make whatever sacrifices were necessary to provide her with the life, chances, and exposure she deserved.”

Jaidah, who was 4 at the time, was by Phillips’ side once more when she graduated from the University of Tennessee in 2008.

At the time, obtaining a college diploma was Phillips’ greatest achievement. I was able to show [Jaidah] that if I could achieve my ambition, she could dream even bigger by having my parents there.

PHOTO: Jerica Phillips poses with her daughter Jaidah at her sorority initiation in 2005 at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

Phillips returned to Memphis after graduating and began working as a TV reporter and anchor. Later, she married Jaidah’s father and had three more children with him.

I am overjoyed to learn that Jaidah will attend Texas Southern University this fall and will have her own college experience.

I told Jaidah when we went back to Memphis when she was a toddler, ‘one day you’ll go to college and do this and that,’ and she replied, ‘I’ve already been to college,'” she recalls. Phillips laughed at the recollection. Her leaving for college will probably be one of the most difficult moments of my life because we won’t have that relationship where she is always there for me.”

Since I was seventeen, she has been my constant companion. “As she rises to new heights, I want her to dream and achieve whatever it is she desires.” “Wow, this is true,” she says now that she is 17 years old.”

PHOTO: Jerica Phillips poses with her daughter Jaidah at Jaidah's high school graduation in May 2021.

Currently, Phillips works for Shelby County Public Schools as chief of communications, where her mission is to identify and share the remarkable stories of the county’s children. When she got a response on social media, she realized she had her own inspirational narrative.

As a result of the success of her narrative, she wants others to see hope and be encouraged. “Education is a viable option. Education is the ticket to a brighter future, regardless of where you were born or what trauma you’ve suffered.”


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