Chandrea Lopez-Shue and her son 18-month-old son, Tristan Smith, pose in the backyard of her home May 15. Since having Tristan in November 2008, Lopez-Shue has completed Moffat County High School, received her associate’s degree from Colorado Northwestern Community College and has decided to pursue a career in radiology. She, along with other MCHS seniors, is set to graduate Saturday morning.

Photo by Shawn McHugh

Chandrea Lopez-Shue and her son 18-month-old son, Tristan Smith, pose in the backyard of her home May 15. Since having Tristan in November 2008, Lopez-Shue has completed Moffat County High School, received her associate’s degree from Colorado Northwestern Community College and has decided to pursue a career in radiology. She, along with other MCHS seniors, is set to graduate Saturday morning.

Motherhood doesn’t keep MCHS senior from graduating

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For Chandrea Lopez-Shue, 18, a single decision changed the rest of her life.

In the fall of 2008, Lopez-Shue, who was eight months pregnant, was unsure about her and her child’s future.

“I was on the fence of giving (him) up for adoption or keeping him, but the more ultrasounds I saw, the more I realized, ‘Wow, I can’t give him up,” she said. “He’s real. He’s mine.”

Having an ultrasound and being able to see her baby in the womb cemented Lopez-Shue’s mind about keeping and raising her child, Tristan Smith, who is now 18 months old.

The decision to raise Tristan also helped her choose a career path, motivated her to complete her coursework at Moffat County High School and enroll in classes at Colorado Northwestern Community College.

After meeting the ultrasound staff at The Memorial Hospital, Lopez-Shue decided to pursue a career in radiology.

Someday, she hopes to be an ultrasound technician like those at TMH who helped her make one of the biggest decisions of her life.

“Maybe I’ll be able to help somebody else 10 years down the road, somebody else that is in my position decide to keep their baby because that is by far the best decision I’ve ever made,” Lopez-Shue said.

Lopez-Shue, who moved to Craig with her family in third grade, will be graduating Saturday from MCHS. Earlier this month, she was able receive her associate’s degree from CNCC with other 2010 graduates.

Throughout high school, Lopez-Shue maintained a 3.5 grade point average, and at CNCC she maintained a 3.4 GPA.

“I’ve always kind of had good grades,” she said. “But, I hadn’t been that motivated until I had Tristan, and then I really had to kick it in gear.”

In the spring semester, Lopez-Shue took one class at MCHS and took 20 credits at CNCC.

She is also enrolled in an independent study program through the high school to shadow the radiology department at TMH.

Lopez-Shue used one word to describe how she balances high school, community college and being a mother — “carefully.”

“Its very time consuming,” she said. “You’ve really got to work around different schedules. I’ve got classes at the college, classes at the high school, it’s been rough.”

But all the hard work is for one reason, she said.

Her son.

“I want Tristan to have the best life possible,” she said. “I don’t want to be one of those single moms who have to work crappy jobs. I want to have a good career and be able to support him in the future.”

The future for Lopez-Shue, however, has arrived.

On Monday, she started classes at Casper College in Casper, Wyo., taking Tristan with her to Casper. She is enrolled in the radiology program.

She hopes to graduate from Casper College with an associate’s degree in radiology, then transfer to a four-year college, possibly Mesa State College in Grand Junction, to receive her bachelor’s degree in radiology.

After a bachelor’s degree, Lopez-Shue is setting her sights on enrolling in a one-year ultrasound program to become an ultrasound technician.

But, Lopez-Shue said she wouldn’t be where she is now without the support of her friends and family.

“My family has been incredible,” she said. “They have helped me out so much. I definitely couldn’t have done it without my family. They have been there the entire time helping me.”

Lopez-Shue said her friends have been supportive of her since having Tristan, but her social life has taken a backseat to raising her son.

“I know it is for a good reason,” she said. “I’m doing it for Tristan. It gets hard. I’ll see my friends out having the normal teenage life and I do get jealous.”

But, Lopez-Shue said spending time with Tristan is better than “hanging out and going to the movies and doing all that stuff.”

“Yeah, they may be able to live that life, but I have something that they don’t have and that is a child and he is my world,” she said.

All things considered, Lopez-Shue said she is proud of where she has landed.

She thinks she has made a positive out of what could have been a negative situation.

“I think I have proved society and all of those statistics wrong,” she said. “I refuse to be one of the statistics where all teenage moms drop out of high school. … It is possible to be a mom and graduate and get a career.”

Comments

Rebelgirl 4 years, 6 months ago

I know things happen to young girls and the best decisions aren't always made but its stories like this that prove that there are responsible ones out there. I went to school with someone who became pregnant her junior year and it changed her life for the better. She like the young lady in this article changed for the better instead of dropping out of school and continue to do drugs she got in gear and graduated with the class. I am still proud of what she did. All to often we hear of girls getting pregnant and dropping out of school, moving from place to place, and not always making the best decisons when it comes to raising a child. Some adults are the same way. It's people like Chandrea that give me hope that our future generations will be brought up with strong role models and parents that show them that yes sometimes life sucks and we all make mistakes but you have to face up to it and change for the better. Learn from those mistakes and become a better and stronger person. Congrats Chandrea on what you have accomplished!!!!

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Cole White 4 years, 6 months ago

I agree Rebel girl. I have good friends who had a baby in high school, graduated, got married, went to college and are doing great. They fortunately had the complete support of both of their parents and that really helped out. While the parents never helped much financially they offered their understanding and support and that I believe made all the difference.

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McGruber 4 years, 6 months ago

Keep up the abstinence only sex education school board. It appears to be working great!

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justthefacts 4 years, 6 months ago

Nice job, with continuing your schooling young lady.

Your son is lucky to have a mother as driven as you.

Fact: You, and you son have a bright future ahead

Just A Fact.

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als362 4 years, 6 months ago

One has to admire this young women for sticking to her guns and finishing her education. She should stand as an example to us all.

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bigrred1576 4 years, 6 months ago

Congrates to you, With your drive and willpower I hope you go far in this world.

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obamasucks 4 years, 5 months ago

im glad this girl went on to finish high school the only problem I had was she never said anything about teen sex and that kids should wait and also no mention of the father being in his sons life wich I know he is as I know him personally I just wonder if we have ran out of good news and have to glorify teen pregnancy every year at graduation

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dogfan 4 years, 5 months ago

Have to agree with obama they glorify it every year at graduation time. It's great that they finished high school, but all you need to do as a teenage girls is have a kid and finish high school and you will get on the front page of the paper.

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